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Types of Infections and Diseases You Can Get From Dog Bites


The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann can help you understand what your best legal options are after a dog bite injury and help you follow them.

Aggressive dogs are dangerous, and it’s the dog owner’s responsibility to keep the animal under a tight leash. This prevents any unwarranted attacks on innocent strangers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claims that 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs each year. Approximately 800,000 seek medical attention due to their dog bite injuries, half of which are children.

Apart from lacerations, dog bites can lead to severe infections. What are your legal options if you suffer a dog bite that leads to a severe infection? This article explores the various types of infections and diseases you can get from dog bites and what you should do to receive monetary compensation for your injuries.

Rabies from a Dog Bite

You can get rabies if a dog with rabies bites you. The name rabies comes from the Rabies virus found in the dog’s saliva or brain tissue. When the virus enters your bloodstream, it spreads to the body’s central nervous system, leading to the spinal cord and brain inflammation. Some initial symptoms of rabies include:

  • Flu-like symptoms include body aches and fever
  • Headaches
  • General fatigue
  • Itchiness around the bite area

Severe rabies cases may also include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Insomnia
  • Hydrophobia
  • Partial paralysis

Rabies is potentially fatal if you don’t receive treatment early enough. If you get bitten by a dog with rabies, seek prompt medical attention to receive treatment and a rabies shot. Getting vaccinated for rabies can help treat rabies even after infection.

Sepsis from a Dog Bite

Sepsis is another serious complication that results from the body’s extreme reaction to an infection, causing widespread inflammation all over the body. Some symptoms of sepsis include:

  • Severe pain
  • Extreme body temperatures(hot or cold)
  • Sleepiness and drowsiness, especially during the day
  • Altered cognitive state, including loss of memory and confusion
  • Chills and shaking

Sepsis requires rapid treatment before it damages the tissues or leads to organ failure and ultimately death. People with weak immune systems and the elderly are more at risk of contracting sepsis after a dog bite.


Cellulitis is a bacterial disease caused by the Pasteurella multocida and Pasteurella Canis bacteria. These bacteria live in the dog’s mouth and can transmit into your bloodstream after a dog bite. Cellulitis affects the skin, giving it a red appearance and painful to touch. Some symptoms of cellulitis include:

  • Swelling and redness of the skin
  • Skin tenderness and extreme sensitivity
  • High temperatures and fever
  • Red spots on the skin

Although cellulitis isn’t life-threatening, it is excruciating and could spread to other parts of the body. Contact your doctor immediately if you notice any signs of cellulitis to get prompt medical attention and prevent the disease from spreading.

You Deserve Compensation for Any Dog Bites

As you can see, dog bites are dangerous and should never be ignored. Even minor dog bites can morph into severe, life-threatening complications.

If you’re a dog bite victim, you deserve compensation from the dog owner. The Law Office of James M. Hoffmann can help you understand what your best legal options are and help you follow them. Give us a call 24/7 at (314) 361-4300 for a FREE case evaluation.

Updated: May 16, 2024
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