Dog bite classifications and when to see a doctor

On Behalf of | Apr 18, 2021 | Dog Bites |

Louisiana residents may not have given a second thought to the idea that a furry, cute dog may end up biting them at some point. In reality, dog bites happen every day across the state and are classified into different categories of severity. Understanding these categories and determining when to see a doctor can help to ensure that you reduce the risk of permanent damage to your body.

The Dunbar scale for dog bites

Dog bites can be classified into six different categories according to the Dunbar scale. At the level one end of the scale, injuries are not severe. As you make your way toward level six of the scale, the bites become more severe.

Most dog bite injuries fall into levels two and three. This is where the dog’s teeth may or may not break the skin and create shallow puncture wounds. When a dog bite is classified into level four or five, the patient has deep puncture wounds. Level four bites are only one bite from the dog. Level five bites constitute multiple deep wound bites. At the end of the spectrum is the level six bite, which is classified as a fatal encounter or at least when human flesh is consumed.

Do you need to see a doctor if you’ve been bitten by a dog?

In most cases of level two and three dog bites, you can treat the injuries at home. However, when bites end up at level four, five, or six, it’s advisable to seek emergency medical care. Some indications that it’s time to see a doctor are that the bleeding doesn’t stop after 15 minutes of having solid pressure on the wound, the victim has a compromised immune system or the victim is showing signs of infection. In the event that you were bitten by a wild or stray dog, it’s a good idea to have the wound evaluated. Also, if you’re not up to date on your tetanus booster, it’s advisable to get a tetanus shot just to reduce the possibility of infection.

Getting bitten by a dog may not be something that you ever thought about before. However, it’s important to understand when to seek medical attention in order to minimize the risk of infection and permanent damage to the body. If you’ve recently been injured by a dog, it’s a good idea to contact an attorney to understand that your rights are for seeking compensation.