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Can dog bites lead to septic shock?

Even though dog bites are alarmingly common in the U.S., there seem to be a growing number of reports about catastrophic attacks. For example, according to reporting from CNN, an Alabama health department employee recently died after a pack of dogs attacked her.

If you are fortunate enough to survive a dog attack, you are still likely to suffer potentially serious injuries. Among others, these may include internal injuries, broken bones, nerve damage and deep cuts. While you are recovering, you should watch closely for signs of infection, as a bite-related infection can be deadly.

Why do infections happen?

The mouths and claws of dogs are full of potentially hazardous bacteria. Even a nip from a dog may break your skin, allowing these bacteria to enter your soft tissues. If the bacteria overwhelm your immune system, you may develop an infection.

Why do infections become septic?

Sepsis is a serious medical condition that occurs when the human body overreacts to a perceived threat. If you have one or more of the following symptoms, you may have sepsis:

  • Fevers, chills or night sweats
  • Rapid heart or respiration rate
  • Confusion, dizziness or disorientation
  • Nausea, vomiting or loss of appetite
  • Worsening pain

Sepsis is a medical emergency, so you should not wait to seek treatment. Going to the emergency room instead of scheduling an appointment with your primary care physician is advisable. Remember, if sepsis worsens, you may develop septic shock. This condition occurs when your organs shut down.

Ultimately, if you have life-changing complications after a dog bite, securing financial compensation from the dog’s owner may be necessary to pay your mounting medical bills.