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Naperville dog bite injury attorneysThough you may have seen portrayals of rabies in the media, it may not be a disease that you ever expect to contract yourself. It is true that rabies infections among humans are uncommon in the United States, but if you are bitten by a strange dog, it is still important that you take all of the necessary health precautions to avoid becoming infected with rabies or another disease.

What is Rabies and How Does it Spread?

Rabies is a virus that uniquely affects mammals and is primarily spread through the saliva of an animal that has been infected. In the United States, rabies is carried mostly by wild animals including foxes, raccoons, skunks, and bats, but it can also be spread by a dog that has not received a rabies vaccination and has been in contact with wild animals. If you are infected with rabies, it can progress through your nervous system and severely impact your brain activity, resulting in confusion, hallucinations, fear of water, other unusual behavior, and death. Early treatment is crucial to stop the spread and prevent the more serious effects from taking hold.

What Should I Do If I Have Been Bitten?

If you have been bitten by a dog, whether or not you believe it may be rabid, you should clean your wounds as much as possible and seek immediate medical attention. Your doctor can not only care for your injuries, but can also administer treatment in the form of postexposure prophylaxis (PEP), which can eliminate the rabies virus before it has the chance to travel throughout your body. Additionally, your doctor can determine whether you may be at risk for other common dog bite infections, including pasteurella, tetanus, and MRSA or staph infections.

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Naperville dog bite injury lawyerDogs, much like their human owners, are social creatures — they play, communicate, and sometimes show aggression. These behaviors may, however, be interpreted incorrectly by humans. The fact of the matter is, even dog-owning Americans can have difficulty interpreting their best friend’s behavior because play fighting may often be indistinguishable from the real thing. Dogs will growl, bark, bite, and scratch during play fighting, exactly the same as they may behave during an actual fight. Fundamentally, this is unlikely to change over the course of a dog’s life, and even adult and elderly dogs may engage in nipping and play biting, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). It is important to be aware of dogs' behaviors in case any encounters turn aggressive and result in injuries.  

The Difference Between Mouthing and Biting

A playing dog may engage in a behavior commonly referred to as “mouthing”— or biting without much force or intent to cause damage. Mouthing is a common behavior that most dogs engage in, irrespective of breed, size, age, or temperament, among other factors. Although a mouthing dog may not intend to cause any damage, mouthing can still result in injury. Nonviolent dogs may still harm humans or other dogs while mouthing as the dog may be unaware of how much force they are using and how much force is necessary to cause injury.

If you are playing with a dog and worry their playful mouthing may injure you, or even turn aggressive, here are some general precautions listed by the ASPCA to avoid escalating things:

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Contact an Illinois Dog Bite Attorney

If you have suffered a dog bite injury, our personal injury lawyers can help you determine the actual value of the damages you have suffered, and we will work to help you recover the compensation you deserve. Call us at 630-552-6860 or fill out the form below to arrange a free consultation.

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