Facial bites are particularly dangerous injuries, especially when they're caused by larger dogs. For children, a facial wound is life changing. It may lead to the need for surgery and can result in disability.

The height and actions of children put them at a higher risk of being bitten by dogs. Their faces are in an easy-to-reach position.

What makes dog bites so serious?

When dogs bite, they puncture the skin but also are likely to shake their heads. On top of the deep puncture, this means that the wound tears from side to side. The deepness of the wound combined with the bacteria found in a dog's saliva makes it likely to suffer from an infection following a bite.

Dog bites can lead to permanent disfigurement. It's typical for victims to require reconstructive surgery and antibiotics to prevent the spread of disease. Part of the reason for this is the extreme level of various pathogens in a dog's mouth. It's estimated that there are over 1,000 species of pathogenic bacteria inside the mouth of a dog.

What should you do if you or a child is bitten by a dog?

Whether the bite is deep or only a small wound, you need to seek medical attention. Since there is such a high risk of infection, you may believe that you'll be fine but later develop pain or sickness from the infection deep in the puncture. It's a better idea to allow a doctor to examine the bite and to provide you with antibiotics or other treatment options.

If you're bitten by a stray dog and can capture it, it's a good idea to keep it for testing. There is always a risk of rabies and tetanus, both of which can be deadly diseases. For dogs you don't know or that did not receive their vaccines, a rabies treatment is recommended if the dog tests positive or if the test is unclear.

Regardless of how you're bitten, your best choice is always to seek immediate medical care and to seek help for your injuries. Even a small wound can become infected and threaten to lead to disabilities or further illnesses.

The owner of the pet should be held responsible for its actions as well. This means that your medical care should be covered by his or her homeowner's insurance, pet insurance or other methods of payment, so you can focus on your recovery.

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