According to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, animal bites are a leading public health concern. They can cause a victim serious injuries, disfigurement and psychological trauma. If left untreated, an individual who is bitten may develop both bacterial and viral infections resulting in their death.
Some of the most common types of bite injuries that doctors are asked to assess in emergency rooms are abrasions, scratches and puncture wounds. In serious cases, patients may also present with broken bones. Children are particularly vulnerable to this. Another common reason bite victims seek medical attention is because of a fear that they may have rabies.
While most people only think that rabies can be transmitted to someone else through a bite, it can actually be transmitted through contact with spinal fluid, saliva and brain tissue from an infected animal. It’s not possible to transmit it through the fur, blood, feces or dried saliva of an infected animal.
All patients who suffer animal bites should have their wounds thoroughly washed out with soap and water for at least 15 minutes after it occurs. Patients who haven’t had a tetanus shot within five years are generally administered one. Although the incidence of rabies among domestic animals and wildlife is relatively small in the area, any bite victim should also be vaccinated against rabies.
One of the primary reasons they recommend for patients to receive rabies vaccinations is because those who contract this type of viral infection will experience nervous system failure resulting in their death.
Owners that are unable to prove that their pet has been vaccinated against rabies will have their pets quarantined for 10 days after the bite occurs. Doctors who suspect that a patient may have been exposed to rabies will begin vaccinating the victim during this time. These shots will last 28 days. If the animal is deemed to have indeed been rabid when it attacked, then it will be destroyed.
Most individuals who are bitten by animals suffer injuries that are minor enough that they won’t have a lasting impact on their life. Others may be traumatized by their experience, end up with painful nerve damage or disfigurement or die. In these more serious cases, it can be helpful to have a San Mateo animal bite attorney to let you know what options for pursuing damages exist.