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Important steps to take following an animal bite

While dogs are typically considered docile and friendly domesticated pets, that is not always the case. For any number of reasons, a dog may attack an Indianan and cause major injuries. Anyone can be the victim of a dog bite, though children and men are more common victims. It can be helpful for an Indiana resident to know what to do if he or she, or a loved one, suffers from a dog bite injury.

While the attack is ongoing, if possible, a victim should place something between himself and the dog, whether a jacket, bag or other object, for protection. If a dog attack knocks a person over, the victim should curl into a ball, placing his hands over his neck and ears and tucking his head in as much as possible.

Once is he able, a dog bite victim should wash his wounds and seek medical attention. Medical attention is particularly important for injuries with uncontrolled bleeding or if it has been more than five years since a victim's last tetanus shot. A person can not only suffer serious injuries due to the violent grasp of a dog's teeth, but a victim may also contract a number of potential diseases from dogs, including MRSA, tetanus or rabies. Therefore, it is essential to determine a dog's rabies status, which a victim may be able to determine from the animal's owner.

A victim also may want to report the incident to the local police department or animal control unit to notify them of the dangerous dog. Finally, it may be wise to consult with an attorney, as a victim may have a legal cause of action for personal injury.

Source: CDC, "Preventing Dog Bites," accessed March 25, 2016

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