How to treat a dog bite

What you need to do in the event of a dog bite

dog bite treatmentDog bites are devastating and if not properly cared for can result in life-long physical scars. When a child or an adult is bitten by a dog not only will they have physical damage but in many cases, they may suffer from long-term psychological problems that may require professional help. However, there are some things you need to do immediately following a dog bite to stem bleeding and potentially minimize potential scarring.

  • Clean the wound immediately – any wounds from a dog bite should be cleaned immediately with warm water and a clean facecloth or other soft cloth. It is typically recommended that a mild soap be used for cleaning so as to avoid irritating the wound
  • Elevation – if possible, elevate the area where the bite occurred to aid in stopping the flow of blood
  • Dressing – In most cases, it is best to avoid dressing a wound until such time as a physician is consulted. However, a loose dressing may be applied, especially if the wound is bleeding

Once wound is cared for

After the wound has been properly cleaned and treated, you will have to identify the dog and the owner. You will need to ensure the dog has had the proper vaccinations. Victims of a dog bite should seek medical attention for a number of reasons. Some of these reasons have to do with Kentucky dog bite statutes some of which include:

  • Strict liability – Kentucky has a strict liability law that applies to dog bites. Dog owners are required to keep their animals under control and they are legally liable for any injuries their dog causes
  • Reporting requirements – medical professionals are required to report all dog bites within 12 hours of treating any wounds incurred in a dog bite incident. The name of the patient, extent of wounds and when possible the address where the incident occurred are to be reported. For bites that did not result in a victim seeking medical care, the bite must still be reported to the local health department
  • Statutes of limitation – victims of dog bites who intend to sue the dog owner for injuries and medical care must bring suit within one (1) year of the injury – there may be exceptions if the victim is a minor child

Dog bites can occur at any time regardless of whether a dog has displayed aggressive tendencies in the past, although some data suggests that certain breeds can be more likely to cause dangerous dog bites. There can be long-term problems both in terms of mental health and physical scarring after a dog bite. Dogs of all sizes can unexpectedly bite a child or an adult, there often is no warning that a dog is upset enough to turn and bite someone. If you or someone you love has suffered from a dog bite, Meinhart, Smith & Manning can help determine what steps you should take next. Contact us for a free consultation.

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