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What Are the Signs of an Infected Dog Bite?

Posted on: March 9th, 2024

Dog bites can result in a variety of serious injuries. However, even a minor injury can potentially become life-threatening if you develop an infection. There is a variety of bacteria present in a dog’s mouth which can enter your bloodstream when the dog’s teeth puncture your skin. Seeking prompt medical attention after a dog bite is critical to your ability to minimize the risk of a potentially dangerous infection.

How Do I Know if My Dog Bite Is Infected?

signs of an infected dog biteThere are a variety of symptoms that may develop when a dog bite becomes infected. These include:

Redness and inflammation around the wound are the most common signs that your dog bite has become infected. Inflammation is a natural response that occurs when your body’s immune system is fighting off the bacteria entering your bloodstream from the bite. If the area around the wound becomes red, swollen and tender to the touch, it may indicate that you’ve developed an infection.

Infected dog bite wounds may also feel warm to the touch. When you develop an infection, your body will increase blood flow to the region so that you have more white blood cells to fight off the infection. This generates the heat you experience at the site of the wound. If the infection becomes worse over time, this heat may spread beyond the site of the wound.

It’s also common to develop pus around the wound if it becomes infected. Pus is a thick fluid that is typically yellow or green in color. It contains dead white blood cells, tissue debris and bacteria. If you see pus oozing from the wound, it’s generally a sign that your body is trying to fight an infection.

While it’s common to experience bleeding after a dog bite, this should subside shortly. If you experience prolonged bleeding, it may be a sign that the wound became infected and isn’t healing properly. This is due to the fact that an infection often impedes your blood’s clotting ability.

If you develop red streaks leading away from the wound, it’s generally a sign that you have a serious infection that is spreading through your lymphatic system. The streaks are caused by inflammation in the lymph vessels. If left untreated, an infection spreading through your lymphatic system can potentially result in blood poisoning, which is considered a medical emergency.

Common Types of Infections After a Dog Bite

There are several common types of infections you may develop after a dog bite. These include:


Cellulitis is one of the most common infections that develops after a dog bite. This skin infection is associated with swelling, tenderness, redness and warmth near the bite wound. Prompt treatment with antibiotics is necessary to prevent the infection from spreading. If left untreated, it can spread quickly and result in additional symptoms such as fever and chills.

Abscess Formation

abscess after a dog bite injuryAn abscess is a localized buildup of pus that is typically accompanied by inflamed tissue in the region. Abscesses can form when bacteria from the dog bite get trapped beneath the skin and multiply. These infections are generally painful, and treatment involves antibiotics along with drainage of the pus that has built up.

Pasteurella Infections

Dogs often transmit the Pasteurella multocida bacteria during a bite, resulting in a variety of infections, including:

These infections can develop rapidly and if not treated in a timely manner, may cause serious complications.

Capnocytophaga Infections

Capnocytophaga infections are less common than the other types of infections that may develop after a dog bite. However, these infections are extremely serious and can result in a life-threatening condition called sepsis. Symptoms of Capnocytophaga infections include fever, chills, weakness and confusion, and they must be treated immediately to avoid the risk of becoming septic.


While rabies is the most commonly known infection associated with dog bites, it’s actually rare to develop this condition after a bite attack. This viral infection impacts your central nervous system and is generally fatal once symptoms develop. For this reason, it’s crucial to find out whether the dog that bit you is current on its rabies shots. If this can’t be confirmed, you may need to get a rabies shot as a precautionary measure.

What to Do if Your Dog Bite Is Infected

If you notice any signs that your dog bite wound has become infected, it’s important to seek medical attention right away. This will ensure your infection is treated properly in a timely manner. If an infection is allowed to fester, it can spread to other areas of the body and result in more serious complications, some of which may be life threatening.

Pushchak Law Can Help If You’ve Been Bitten by a Dog

If you’ve been injured in a dog bite attack in the Denver area, you may be entitled to compensation for your damages. Colorado adheres to strict liability laws in dog bite cases. This means the dog’s owner is liable for your damages even if there wasn’t any negligence associated with the attack.

At Pushchak Law, we’ve witnessed firsthand the devastation caused by dog bite injuries, and we’re prepared to fight aggressively for your rights every step of the way. Brian Pushchak has made dog bite cases a primary focus of his practice. He knows the complex laws that govern these claims, and he understands the serious medical issues that can arise after a dog bite injury. This specialization enables him to accurately assess the total extent of your damages, which is critical to maximizing the value of your compensation.

In addition, we’ve also developed a unique Informed Decisions™ Approach focused on helping you achieve the best possible outcome to your case. This approach keeps you in control of the entire process. Mr. Pushchak will take the time to understand your desired outcome for the case and will answer any questions you have to ensure you understand your legal rights and options. He’ll recommend the best strategy to achieve your goals, but you will always have the final say on how the case is handled.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Pushchak Law serves clients in Denver and the surrounding areas of Colorado.

Brian Pushchak | Personal Injury Law Firm Denver, CO
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