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Dog Bites

Types of Dog Bite Wounds and Long-Term Consequences

From superficial scratches to deep tissue damage, dog bite wounds can result in a wide range of injuries. The immediate consequences are often very evident, but many might not realize the long-term ramifications that can follow. It can take dog bite victims months or years to fully recover from their injuries. Unfortunately, some injuries from these incidents can be so severe they leave permanent damage. Understanding the different types of dog wounds and their long-term effects is essential for victims seeking support, care, and compensation.

Types of Dog Bite Injuries

Dog bites can occur anywhere on the body, but many occur on fingers, hands, face, head, arms, legs, and the torso. Injuries to these body parts can range from mild to serious with life-altering consequences for victims.

Tissue and Muscle Damage

Tissue and muscle damage from dog bites is often the result of puncture wounds, lacerations, and tearing and avulsion. Surgical intervention is sometimes required to repair these injuries, which could lead to long-term mobility issues and chronic pain.

Puncture Wounds
Dog teeth are long and sharp. They create deep, narrow wounds that might not initially appear serious. However, these wounds can damage the tissues, blood vessels, and nerves beneath the skin.

These open wounds affect the skin, muscles, and deeper tissues in the body. They often need to be treated with sutures or surgery.

Tearing and Avulsion
Intense dog bites can result in tissue tearing or avulsion. Avulsion occurs when the tissue is forcibly torn away from the body and demands immediate medical attention and surgical intervention.

Nerve Damage

Dog bites near nerves can lead to short-term or long-term nerve damage. Victims might experience numbness, tingling, loss of sensation, chronic pain, or functional limitations depending on bite severity.

Fractures and Broken Bones

Strong bites and extreme attacks could result in simple or even compound fractures. Even after medical care or surgical intervention, victims could experience long-term effects from these injuries, including chronic pain and reduced mobility.


Bacteria in a dog’s mouth can make dog bite injuries prone to infection, especially in open wounds, wounds that are not treated immediately, or if the victim is immunocompromised. Scarring, reduced function, and even secondary complications can arise following an infection.

Psychological Trauma

Dog bites can be vicious and can leave lasting impressions on victims. Children and adults are susceptible to psychological trauma conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, and fear of dogs. Victims who suffer an emotional toll may require therapy or counseling as part of their dog bite treatment.

Scarring and Disfigurement

Extreme dog bites may cause the victim scarring or disfigurement, affecting both their physical and psychological well-being. Though these injuries can vary in appearance, they can cause self-esteem problems, emotional distress, or functional issues to arise. Some cases may require extensive surgical intervention, if not multiple complex surgeries and skin grafts, to improve.

Rabies Exposure

Though rare, dog bites can potentially expose victims to rabies if the dog is not up to date on its vaccinations. While rabies is treatable, rabies can be fatal if left unchecked.