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For National Dog Bite Prevention Week, Know What to Do If A Bite Occurs

National Dog Bite Prevention Week is May 19-25. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), over 4.5 million Americans suffer dog bites every year. About 800,000 people require medical treatment for a dog bite.

Although dog bites are rarely fatal, they can cause severe injury and permanent scarring. If someone you know is bitten by a dog this summer, here are some tips for responding effectively:

  • Calm the patient and check the wound. If the bite looks severe, take the injured person to the local emergency room as soon as possible. If you can't tell how severe the bite is, it is wisest to go to the emergency room. Mild bites should be examined by the injured person's regular doctor immediately.
  • Wash carefully. Mild and moderate bite wounds from a dog with a current rabies vaccination should be washed gently with clean water and antibacterial soap, then covered with a sterile dressing. However, do not stop to wash if the bite is severe or there is significant bleeding. Instead, take the injured person to the emergency room right away, or call an ambulance.
  • Restrain the dog, if possible. If the dog cannot be restrained in a secure place like a yard or kennel, write down as much identifying information about the dog as possible, including its size, coloring, likely breed, and whether it is wearing a collar or tags.
  • Get the owner's contact information. Get the name, address, and phone number of the dog's owner. Also, get the contact information for the dog's veterinarian. You can check with the vet to be certain if the dog's rabies and other vaccinations are up to date.
  • Talk to a lawyer. An experienced Omaha injury lawyer can help you protect your legal rights and ensure steps are taken to prevent the dog from biting someone again.
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