Wisconsin victims demonstrate the dangers of dog bites

Most residents thought that dog bites can only be hazardous to their health if the canine pushes their teeth deep into their skin or gives them receive multiple cuts, scratches and bites all at once. However, many are reconsidering after two Wisconsin citizens made national news for catching a potentially dangerous disease from a small nibble or lick from a dog.

Even if a dog's owner receives nothing but love and companionship from their pet, these reports show that they need to be cautious when Fido is interacting with other people. The dog or victim's condition prior could determine the severity of the infection from the bite.

Sick from saliva

In June, a 58-year-old Milwaukee woman was at her house with her family when their Shih Tzu puppy nipped her finger. She died of sepsis four days later.

In the same month, a man in West End had his legs and hands amputated and was put in the hospital for months of multiple surgeries after his dog licked him.

The doctors found that both of these victims were suffering from capnocytophaga, a type of bacteria found in the saliva of many cats and dogs. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claims that illnesses from this bacteria are very rare especially given how many dog owners exist in the United States. While there have only been a handful of cases in the last few years, they did not know about the two Wisconsin victims until they made national headlines, so there could be several incidents that they are unaware of.

Who is at risk?

Most victims of a capnocytophaga infection often have a weaker immune system that makes it easier for the bacteria to infect their bloodstream. The CDC believes that these people have the highest risk of infection:

  • Alcoholics
  • Cancer patients
  • Diabetics
  • HIV victims
  • People who lack spleens
  • Adults over the age of 40

You may require immediate treatment to prevent a capnocytophaga infection if someone's dog bites you. Contact a doctor for information on how to treat the wound to stop the disease from transmitting through your body. If it spreads, you could deal with lifelong disabilities that come with expensive medical bills. Should this happen, you need to contact a personal injury attorney that specializes in animal attacks to receive proper compensation.

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