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Sepsis: A serious complication of even seemingly minor dog bites

As someone who has dealt with a dog bite in the past, something that you should be aware of is the risk of a life-threatening infection called sepsis. Sepsis can be a result of even seemingly minor dog bites and puncture wounds, which is why it’s so important to seek medical care after you’re bitten by any kind of animal.

Many people think about the bite wounds themselves being what is so costly and painful about a dog bite, but the truth is that the complications can end up causing more damage than an initial bite. Sepsis, for example, may lead to a high fever, shaking, night sweats, extremely high or low body temperatures, confusion, extreme fatigue and severe pain and discomfort. Left without treatment, sepsis can lead to death.

Do all animal bites cause sepsis?

Sepsis is caused by the body’s reaction to an injury. Typically, the body responds to a bite by releasing chemicals into the blood that help fight off infection. Sepsis happens when the body releases chemicals in a way that isn’t balanced. Multiple organ systems can be damaged by blood-based infection

Sepsis becomes extremely dangerous once it transforms into septic shock. During septic shock, the body’s blood pressure drops very quickly and dramatically, which can lead to death. 

Who is most at risk for sepsis?

People who have weak immune systems or chronic conditions may be at a higher risk of this complication with a dog bite. Children, pregnant women and the elderly may also develop this condition more easily than others. 

Fortunately, early treatment, including cleansing the wound and taking antibiotics, can help prevent sepsis from occurring and treat it if it does. 

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