Last modified on July 13th, 2022 at 8:42 am

Off The Leash: Navigating the Long-Term Impacts of Being Bitten By A Dog

It’s every dog lover’s worst nightmare. You’re out for a walk, minding your own business when a loose dog runs up and bites you. You’re caught off-guard, in unspeakable amounts of pain; all while subduing the animal causing it any permanent physical harm.

You visit your doctor and get the proper care that you need. They clean the wound, stitch and bandage the affected area. You may be given a few antibiotics and sent on your way, and you think the worst of it has passed.

Sometimes this isn’t the case.

There are long-term effects to dog bites. It’s important to be aware of this if you are ever attacked. You may be cleared at the moment, but you need to be proactive with regular checkups and monitor your health for any additional symptoms, rashes, wounds, or abnormalities.


If you’re bitten by a dog, there’s a good chance you’ll end up with some sort of wound. These can range from small punctures to large lacerations. Depending on the severity of it, you may need stitches or surgery. If left untreated, these wounds can become infected and lead to further health complications down the road.


Infections are common, as is nerve damage. You can suffer from permanent scarring or even amputation of a limb. Infections take time to present themselves and they often spread rather fairly quickly.

There are a few types of infections that you can get from dog bites: tetanus, rabies, and MRSA. Tetanus is contracted when the bacteria Clostridium tetani enters the body through an open wound. Rabies is a virus that attacks the nervous system; it’s usually spread through contact with an infected animal’s saliva. MRSA is a staph infection that is resistant to antibiotics; it can be fatal if not treated properly.

There are other dangerous infections, like Pasteurella, that can affect your health for a long time. This infection is common in dog bites but not always checked for by the doctor. If you are bitten and don’t receive antibiotics immediately, there’s a good chance that this bacteria will enter your system through the open wound and cause an abscess to form. This wound will become swollen, hot, red, and painful, resulting in an extended hospital stay and possible surgery.

You can contract a different type of infection if the dog bite becomes infected with C-Diff. This is a highly contagious form of frequent diarrhea that can last for months. Diarrhea causes dehydration and you also run the risk of losing essential nutrients. This can lead to additional health problems.

Get all of the recommended vaccinations if you have been attacked by an animal; especially rabies shots. The most important thing is getting immediate treatment if you think something may be wrong with your body after being bit or scratched by a dog.

Physical and Mental Complications

There are a number of long-term complications that can arise as a result of being bitten by a dog: physical scars, psychological trauma, and chronic pain. Physical scars are usually visible reminders of the trauma you’ve experienced. This can cause a great deal of emotional distress. You may feel fear or anxiety around other dogs.

These emotions can develop into a debilitating struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). You may have flashbacks, nightmares, and intrusive thoughts about the attack. This can keep you from living a fulfilling life.

Some people develop a condition called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) after suffering from an animal bite.

You may have trouble sleeping or experience nightmares about your experience. This can result in fatigue and a lack of energy, which affects your ability to function.

Financial Effects

If your health insurance doesn’t cover all of the costs associated with a dog bite, you will have to pay them out of pocket. Depending on the severity of the wound, this can be a costly endeavor. If you need surgery or have to take time off work to recover, your finances may take a hit.

You may also have legal expenses if you decide to file a lawsuit against the dog’s owner. Partnering with firms like Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers can help you receive the proper compensation you deserve.

This process can be lengthy and expensive. It’s important to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer to see what options you have.

The long-term effects of being bitten by a dog can be devastating. The physical scars may fade over time, but the psychological and emotional trauma often remains. It’s important to seek treatment if you’re struggling after an attack and to get all of the necessary vaccinations should you be bitten in the future. Take advantage of the amply resources available to you.