How do you handle a dog bite

Dog bite - what to do? From a doctor's visit to compensation

Last Updated on: 20th October 2020, 10:40 am

Whether the blame for a dog bite lies with the animal or the owner is a matter of opinion. One thing is certain, however: if it happened, it did quick help important. A correct wound care is the first step. What further measures are necessary depends on the species and the intensity of the bite. And then of course there is the matter of compensation for pain and suffering.

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Dog bite - what can happen?

Most people think cat bites are more dangerous than dog bites because that is Risk of infection with a cat bite is significantly higher. The risk of infection is true - but lurk when a dog bites completely different dangers.

Depending on the size of the dog, a bite causes more or less extensive, more or less severely torn Soft tissue injuries. Since these are more open wounds that usually bleed heavily, most of the germs are flushed out again immediately. However, if an infection does occur, it spreads Within 24 hours noticeable.

The problem: Unfortunately, just because the bite wound does not become infected does NOT mean that it does not serious injuries may exist. With a dog bite, the greater danger lies in the Pulling force of the jaw. Injuries from a dog bite can cause such severe damage that amputation is necessary.

Why are dog bites so dangerous?

Dog bites are mostly found on the legs or arms, but sometimes also on the buttocks, face or neck. Since broken bones even under small or apparently only superficial wounds, Tendon, nerve, or vascular lesions should be hidden after a dog bite X-ray be made. Your family doctor knows best what to look for in this type of bite injury.

High risk of infection from cat bites

There is one in the cat's saliva large number of germs. Therefore, infections often occur as a result of a cat bite, which usually become noticeable within twelve hours. In addition, the needle-sharp teeth leave behind deep punctiform injuriesthat can sometimes even reach into muscle meat and down to the bone.

Remain in the resulting narrow wound canal potential pathogens hang that are not flushed out due to the low blood flow. For this reason, the cat bite is basically a case for your family doctor!

Risk of infection from animal bites

Even if an animal bite does not cause serious injury: An infection is always possible, because animal oral cavities are simply not sterile. Germs lurk there that can cause inflammation. In the worst case, untreated inflammation can lead to sepsis.Signs of wound infection are:

  • Redness and overheat
  • Pain (e.g. a "throb" at the wound site) and swelling
  • Pus formation
  • possibly Functional restrictions of the injured or surrounding joint
  • possibly Circulatory disorders or impaired sensation (e.g. numbness) at the bite site

Tetanus infection from animal bite

Dogs generally transmit pus-causing bacteria such as staphylococci, streptococci, Pasteurella and others when they bite, but they can too Bacteria that produce neurotoxins of the species Clostridium tetanitransfer. These bacteria live in the animals' mouths without causing symptoms. However, if they get into a wound in the absence of air, the unvaccinated bite victim can attack Tetanus (tetanus) get sick. And such an infection can be fatal to humans.

Are signs of tetanus infection Muscle spasms up to Apnea. This creates a characteristic facial expression, the so-called Risus sardonicus.This expression describes a malicious grin caused by contractions of the facial muscles. Usually also occurs Trism, also Lock jawcalled, on: The mouth cannot be opened completely.

Rabies from dog bite

In certain areas, travelers run the risk of being bitten by a dog, cat, fox, wolf, badger, raccoon or bat Rabies virus infectionwhich enter the bite wound via the saliva of the infected animals and from there spread to the brain and spinal cord.

Rabies (Rabies, Lyssa) starts with uncharacteristic complaints such as headache, loss of appetite, possibly also fever, burning, itching and increased sensitivity of the wound to pain. One of the two states follows:

  • the encephalitic form: Meningitis with symptoms of failure of the cranial nerves, increased salivation, sweating, muscle cramps (e.g. in the throat when looking at liquid = "fear of water"), restlessness, aggressive and depressive moods
  • the paralytic form ("Silent rabies"): nerve paralysis

The disease ends in a coma and paralysis of the respiratory muscles - and therefore usually fatal. A Rabies vaccination can prevent the rabies from breaking out.

Dog bite - what to do?

  • Cleaning & Disinfecting: The wound immediately after the bite under running water rinse thoroughly! If rabies is suspected in the animal, add soap or detergent to eliminate as many viruses as possible. Subsequently disinfect.
  • Connect: The wound with one germ-free cloth or cover with a sterile gauze bandage.
  • Bitten off body parts: Wrap (e.g. fingers or toes) in a cloth that is as pure as possible (preferably germ-free) and take a clean plastic bag with you or give it to the rescue team.
  • Printing compound: In the event of severe blood loss, apply a pressure bandage to stop the bleeding, if necessary (e.g. circulatory collapse) provide first aid (cardiac massage) and call the emergency doctor (144) immediately.

How quickly to the doctor after a dog bite?

If a dog has bitten you should as quickly as possible (ideally only hours after the incident) consult a doctor so that he can clean the bite wound, remove any dead tissue (wound toilet) and, if necessary, Antibiotics administered as well as necessary Vaccinations undertakes. This reduces the risk of wound infection and protects against avoidable complications.

Danger! Get medical help IMMEDIATELY, at the latest when symptoms of rabies or tetanus infection occur!

In the worst case, what can happen?

Extensive bite wounds and facial lesions require one inpatient treatment and one or more surgical interventions that involve debridement, i.e. the removal of plaque and dead tissue. Usually a drainage created (so that pus can flow outwards) and if necessary one plastic reconstruction (Restoration of conditions that are as “true to the original” as possible). Parts of the body that have been bitten off (e.g. fingers, toes, nose, ears, etc.) are sewn back on if possible.

How long on sick leave after a dog bite?

How long you are on sick leave after a dog bite naturally depends on the patient Type and severity your injury as well as yours professional activity from. Example: Someone who sits at a desk a lot for work and mainly uses the keyboard to do their work will not be severely restricted by a small dog bite in the leg. A bite of the hand, however, can well cause this type of work for several weeks cannot be executed.

Dog bite - where to report?

Anyone in Austria Report dog bite always have to see a doctor. According to Austrian law (Sections 17 and 41 of the Animal Diseases Act), reporting the incident to the police is the responsibility of the treating party Doctor or the hospitalin which the bite victim was cared for.

Who is liable for dog bites?

Legally, theDog owners take full responsibility for his dog and also for the consequences of its behavior. If an animal bites without any provocation, the owner is also liable for all consequences that arise from it: injuries, Medical bills and possibly even lost work. However, it is common not that easyto enforce these claims.

How much compensation for pain and suffering for dog bites?

Austrian law does not stipulate the amount of compensation to be paid after a dog has been bitten. Basically, the sum is of course based onwhat injuries and / or damage have arisen, how heavy they are and whether they cause apermanent damage is to be expected. So it always has to be about the Individual case to be decided.

Sometimes it is possible to talk to the dog owner directly about claims for damages. Some dog owners have one too Liability insurance completed for your animal, which can also pay the compensation for pain and suffering. If both options come to nothing, the injured party only has the option of going to a lawyer to claim compensation for pain and suffering.

What happens to the dog after a dog bite?

If people are injured by dogs, there is always the question of whether that is Animal euthanized must become. In Austria this is very clearly regulated: If the owner of the dog is known (registered) and the dog can be proven to have been vaccinated against rabies, there is a "Observation period“Of ten days.

The dog must do this within ten days twice (once immediately after the injury, once on the tenth day of the deadline) by a veterinarian tested for rabies become. Both test results must be communicated to the police and the health authorities. Are both results inconspicuous, the animal stays alive. Before claims for damages or lawsuits personal injury compensation Of course, this does not protect the dog owner.

By the way: If the dog owner refuses to comply with this obligation, the police / veterinary authority must be informed.

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Gabriela Gerstweiler