Dog Bite Injuries – Fractures

Dog bites can cause significant pain and other problems, especially when associated with an infection.  Early recognition of warning signs and appropriate treatment are key in minimizing potential problems from the bite.

A fracture may occur during a dog attack or dog bite.  The compressive forces on the body from the dog’s jaw are strong enough to literally crush the bones inside (depending on where the dog bites), resulting in a comminuted fracture where the bones are broken into multiple pieces.  Fractures associated with a dog bite are the most severe because there are associated puncture wounds from the dog’s teeth, allowing bacteria to potentially infect not only the skin wound but also the broken bone.

Treatment for a fracture caused by a dog bite

Breaking any of your bones during a dog attack will likely result in a great deal of pain.  Immediate swelling around the injured area is likely to occur.  How to treat a stable, closed fracture:

  • A splint or cast will be sued to immobilize the injured area while it heals
  • After approximately 3-4 weeks, the doctor may recommend starting some gentle, small exercises to prevent the area that was fractured from becoming stiff and difficult to move

How to treat a dirty, open fracture:

  • The wounds will be cleaned thoroughly with sterile water or saline
  • Antibiotics will be given and the fractured bone will be splinted temporarily
  • If surgery is needed to repair the fracture, it will be postponed for a few days while the antibiotics build in your system to help decrease the likelihood of infection
  • If surgery is not needed, a more permanent splint will be placed
  • These types of fractures will need to be followed closely with frequent checking of the skin wounds for signs of infection

Infection can also occur when a dog bites and the bacteria from its mouth contaminates the wound.  These bacteria may grow within the wound and cause an infection.  The consequences of infection range from mild discomfort to life-threatening complications.  Many factors may contribute to the infection, including the type and location of the wound, pre-existing health conditions in the bitten person that impair immunity, such as diabetes, HIV, etc., the extent of delay before treatment, the presence of a foreign body in the wound, and the animal causing the bite.

Location of Fractures

The majority of wounds inflicted by dogs affect the victims head, neck and face.  By nature when a dog attacks it strikes these areas.  Therefore they are common sites of dog bite wounds and fractures.  Facial lacerations and fractures may require extensive reconstructive surgery.  The hands, fingers, forearm and wrist are also common sites for dog bites.  These areas are more likely to be injured due to the victims attempt to defend themselves against attack. Lacerations, along with broken bones (fractures) and puncture wounds are common in these areas.

If you or your child has been bitten by a dog, please seek medical treatment immediately. Even a small wound can be dangerous and only a doctor can properly assess the damage done and help the victim recover fully from the attack.

A broken bone is not a minor injury for most people.  If a bone fracture victim is fortunate, the bone will eventually heal and life’s normal activities can resume, but treatment and recovery may result in significant financial losses as well as pain and suffering.

If you or a loved one have been injured by a dog bite or attack, contact the California dog bite attorneys at the Liljegren Law Group today at 866-613-9906.  Our attorneys can help assist you in determining what compensation you are entitled to regarding your injury claims.  Contact our office today for a free legal consultation.

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