What should I do if I'm bitten by a cat or a dog?

When a cat or dog bites a person, there is a risk that lasting problems can occur. The fact of the matter is that any animal's mouth will harbor bacteria that can cause infections in the human body. There are some important things for you to consider if you have been bitten by a cat or dog.

Do I need medical care?

There is a possibility that you will need medical care after you have been bitten by a cat or dog. Any cat bite requires medical attention. Dog bites that are deep, on your foot, on your head, on your hand or bites that are showing signs of infection all require medical care. If you have a compromised immune system, you should seek medical care right away. The same is true if you have bleeding that is rapid or uncontrollable. Additionally, if you think a bone was broken, a nerve was damaged or you can't move the affected body part, you should seek medical care.

What should I do besides seek medical care?

You should report the bite to the proper authorities. This, along with the medical records, sets up the documentation of the event that you will need if you decide to seek compensation. If the animal that bit you was a pet, you will need proof that the animal was properly vaccinated against rabies.

Seeking compensation after an animal bite can help you to recoup the costs associated with the bite. This can include the medical care that you received because of the injury. If you missed work, such as if the bite was severe, it can also help to cover lost wages.

Source: FamilyDoctor.org, "Cat and Dog Bites," accessed Feb. 12, 2016

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