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How serious is a dog bite infection?

Even if you are an animal lover, you undoubtedly understand the risks many dogs pose. After all, if a dog has an injury or illness, it may behave unpredictably. Some dogs, of course, have a tendency to act viciously.

A dog attack has the potential to leave you with catastrophic and life-changing injuries. These injuries range from broken bones to serious nerve damage. Still, because of a possible infection, the risk to your health may not end when the attack does.

Canine saliva is full of germs

Dogs have millions of germs in their mouths, on their skin and beneath their claws. If a dog attack causes even a seemingly minor cut or scratch, these germs may enter your bloodstream or soft tissues. Even if you have a healthy immune system, you may develop an infection.

Infection can be deadly

According to the American Kennel Club, one type of dog-transmitted bacteria can lead to a deadly infection. Capnocytophaga, which lives inside the mouths of dogs, kills about 30% of those it infects. Others suffer infection-related heart attacks, kidney disease or gangrene.

Sepsis can happen quickly

After a dog attack, it is important to watch the bite wound for signs of infection. These may include swelling, redness, blisters or discharge. You also may suffer from headaches, nausea, fevers or confusion. If you have any of these symptoms, you may be at risk of developing sepsis or even going into septic shock in just a few hours.

Ultimately, to improve your chances of recovering fully, it is critical to go to the emergency room for immediate medical care.