Dangerous Infections Caused by Dog Bites

Posted on behalf of James Lynch on June 14, 2019  in Personal Injury News. Updated on March 2, 2022

Dog BiteDogs carry numerous bacteria foreign to the human body. That is why when a dog bites you, it should not be brushed off as something minor. Though most bites can be treated with a simple cleaning and bandages, one deep bite can cause bacteria to seep into the muscles, bone, and blood stream and may lead to more serious issues like infection.

You should always practice certain safety tips to prevent a dog bite from occurring, but if you have recently been bitten by a dog and are experiencing any of the symptoms stated in the article below, it is important that you seek medical attention right away.

Contact our team at Lynch Law so we can discuss your situation, treatment options and legal strategy to secure compensation for the damages you sustained.


One way that a person may develop an infection after a dog bite is through the transfer of the rabies virus. This virus spreads through your nerves to the brain, where it quickly multiplies. This results in inflammation in the brain and spinal cord.


There are currently no tests available to detect early stages of rabies. However, dog bite injury victims may experience rabies-like symptoms, such as:

  • High fever
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Convulsions

Once these symptoms are prominent, a doctor can take a blood or tissue test to determine if the patient has the disease and administer a preventative rabies vaccination to prevent the infection from spreading further.

Risk Factors for Catching the Infection

Certain people are at greater risk of contracting rabies, such as:

  • Those who travel to developing countries
  • People who take frequent trips to camping grounds
  • Those living in a rural area where wild animals are close
  • People under the age of 15

Being infected by rabies can be fatal in some cases, so it is important to seek immediate medical attention if you believe you may have been exposed.


Pasteurella is a bacterial organism that is often found in the mouths of cats and in some dogs. A child or adult who is bitten by an animal with this bacterium can develop a skin infection called cellulitis.


Symptoms of cellulitis often appear within 24 hours after exposure to the infection. Common symptoms include:

  • Swelling, redness, warmth or tenderness of the skin
  • Discharge of pus
  • Enlarged nymph nodes
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Eye infections
  • Blood infections
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Other medical conditions, such as pneumonia or meningitis

Risk Factors

There are some health factors that can make it easier for you to develop cellulitis, including the following:

  • Existing injury – Having a break in the skin gives the bacteria a point of entry.
  • Skin conditions – Eczema, shingles or athlete’s foot can also cause breaks in the skin where bacteria can enter.
  • History of cellulitis – Having this condition in the past makes you more likely to develop it again.
  • Chronic swelling of your arms or legs – This may occur after surgery and make you more prone to cellulitis.
  • Weakened immune system – HIV/AIDS, diabetes, leukemia and other medical conditions that weaken the immune system can make you more vulnerable to infections.
  • Obesity – Being overweight can also increase your risk of developing cellulitis.

Staph Infection

A dog bite can also lead to other types of infections, such as staph infections, which are caused by staphylococcus bacteria, commonly found on the skin or in the nose of healthy people.


Some of the symptoms of a staph infection include the following:

  • Boils on the skin
  • Red and swollen skin
  • Drainage of pus
  • Impetigo or other skin rash
  • Blisters on the skin with oozing fluid
  • Cellulitis

Risk Factors

Some of the risk factors for a staph infection include the following:

  • Having a medical condition that weakens your immune system, such as HIV/AIDS or diabetes
  • Taking medication that weakens the immune system
  • Having eczema or other skin damage or breaks
  • Having cancer
  • Having a respiratory illness like emphysema or cystic fibrosis
  • Current or recent hospitalization
  • Having medical tubing in place

Contact a Skilled Lawyer for Help with Your Claim

If you or your child was bitten by a dog, it is critical that you seek immediate medical attention. Then, contact a skilled New Jersey dog bite lawyer who will help you with every aspect of your claim. Lynch Law Firm, PC takes personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, so there are no upfront fees or risks to learning about your legal rights and options.

Call us today at (800) 518-0508 to set up you free consultation.

* Results may vary depending on your particular facts and legal circumstances.

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