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What are the long-term effects of dog bites?

When most people in San Diego think about dogs, they envision fun-loving companions or service animals. However, dogs can, and often do, attack. The American Veterinary Medical Association reports that 4.5 million people in the U.S. suffer dog bites each year. Of those dog attack victims, 20 percent need medical attention to treat their injuries. While, for some, the wounds may eventually heal, people may experience a range of long-term effects as a result of dog bite injuries.

It is common for people who have been attacked by dogs to suffer puncture wounds, cuts, scrapes, tears and other physical trauma. Depending on the severity of these injuries, people may suffer disfigurement or scarring. Beyond experiencing damage to their physical appearances, dog attack victims may sustain partial or full paralysis, suffer from mobility issues or require amputation.

For many people who are attacked by dogs, the trauma extends beyond physical injuries. Due to the shock of their experience, dog attack victims may develop emotional or psychological issues. This may include post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, flashbacks, withdrawal and nightmares. Often, these issues persist long after people’s physical injuries have healed. In some cases, people may suffer from the psychological effects of a dog attack for the rest of their lives.

Even healthy dogs can carry a range of germs in their mouths. As such, infections, such as sepsis, are a common concern following a dog bite. Additionally, people may develop diseases, including rabies. Left untreated, such infections and diseases can cause worsened medical conditions, or death.

This post has provided a general overview of the long-term effects of dog bite injuries. It is important to remember, however, that the effects can be unique depending on the victim and the circumstances. Therefore, this post should be considered general information, and not professional legal advice. 

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