After suffering from a dog bite, many victims forget to focus on one serious possibility: infection. Victims understandably focus on other issues, such as the possibility of scarring and the potential mental and emotional trauma.
But infection causes many more fatalities from dog bites than rabies. Capnocytophaga infections are just one of them.
Early onset of infection
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examine capnocytophaga infections in dog bite victims. This is just one of many bacterial infections that may occur in the wake of a bite. Unfortunately, many types of bacteria live in a dog’s mouth and any can end up transferred into the bite wound.
The early signs of infection can set in within hours. However, most symptoms will appear within several days of the bite. In some cases, it may even take up to two weeks for symptoms to appear. This is part of why it is crucial to seek medical attention, as you may seem fine when in reality you are not.
You may first notice swelling and redness around the wound. It can feel tender and painful to the touch, and the skin may also feel hot. You could see pus or liquid draining from the wound, too.
Tracking infections as they progress
In the following days, you may experience flu-like symptoms. This can include feeling feverish and sore, with aching muscles and joints. You could also experience gastrointestinal distress in the form of vomiting, nausea and diarrhea.
If left untreated, infections may progress to the point of doing severe damage. This can include organ failure, gangrene, necrosis and even sepsis, which can kill in 72 hours or less. Thus, no matter how serious a bite seems, you always want to get it checked by medics.