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The negative consequences of animal bites and scratches

Personal injuries caused by animals happen on many different levels, from the relatively minor scratch to the extremely painful bite on a vulnerable body part.

When an injury comes from a household pet, legal action may follow from the injured party. Often the damages go beyond a relatively simple payment for medical bills.

The potential for medical complications

John Hopkins Medicine states that even minor animal bites and scratches can result in an infection. This has the potential to spread bacteria throughout the body of the victim. Cat scratches, for one example, can carry a bacterial infection known as “cat scratch disease.” Any injury from an animal also has the possibility of transmitting rabies or tetanus.

Experts recommend that the recipient of a deep bite or puncture wound from an animal seek medical attention. The treatment program could require a round of antibiotics, wound care, a tetanus booster or a rabies vaccine. Individuals should also monitor for additional signs of illness, such as fever or a headache that indicate a worsening infection.

The possibility of psychological injuries

An injury from an animal, especially one that causes significant injuries, can also inflict psychological pain. Some victims of animal attacks suffer mild or severe cases of post-traumatic stress disorder. WebMD says that PTSD can show up months or more after the physical wounds from an incident heal.

The impacts of PTSD on victims include memories of the traumatic event returning during the day as flashbacks and during the night as bad dreams. Victims of an animal attack also might wish to avoid discussing the issue or might steer clear of all dogs or cats. It is important to realize that personal injuries from animals often cause more than physical harm.

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