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You Shouldn't Worry Too Much Over Getting Bitten By A Dog, But Even A Lick Could Be Harmful In Rare Cases

The effects Dog bites are generally benign - except if, of course, the animal rips something off or actually kills you on the spot.

Thankfully, most dogs don't actually bite. And, while you might think your dog's mouth is very unclean, it's actually not much worse than yours. In most cases, pain is the only effect suffered from a bite, but in rare instances, even a lick from the canine can be dangerous.

A dog's mouth is a great breeding ground for many types of bacteria, which makes getting bitten pretty risky. But a bite from another human being could be just as dangerous, and it actually seems like people get bitten by other people more often than people get bitten by dogs nowadays.

A person licking you, while gross under most circumstances, is practically harmless but that's not always the case when dogs are involved.

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According to Popsci.com, an Ohio woman recently found herself carrying a rare infection after her German Shepherd's tongue touched an open wound while she was getting smooched. Doctors were later forced to amputate both her hands and legs as she'd contracted very bad Capnocytophaga that could have been fatal.

Capnocytophaga bacteria live in dogs' mouths naturally and are harmless to their hosts. Humans, however, risk adverse effects if they get under the skin. The Ohio case was actually quite rare as Capnocytophaga infections aren't normally that bad or even close.

Dog bites are usually harmless, apart from the obvious broken skin and the pain that comes with it. But you'd do well to see a doctor just to be on the safe side.

Capnocytophaga isn't the only thing one can contract from a dog bite (or lick). Pasturella is quite common where dog bite infections are concerned and induce swollen lymph nodes, as well as fevers. The effects could be worse in children, with Meningitis or pneumonia also a possibility.

MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is something which could be picked up from a hospital or a dirty wrestling mat, but it can also inhabit your dog's mouth. MRSA is generally easy to treat but could cause sepsis if it gets to the bloodstream, causing a host of organ problems and possibly resulting in death.

Tetanus, more commonly contracted from rusty metal, could be acquired almost anywhere, including a dog's mouth. Only 10 percent of cases are fatal but you should probably get a booster shot if it's been 10 years since your last vaccine.

Rabies is the most dangerous of them all and nearly everyone who contracts it dies unless they're given a vaccine within a day of exposure. Cases are quite rare, especially nowadays, but doctors are likely to administer a shot if anyone comes in with a skin-puncturing bite.

So, if you happen to be on the wrong end of an angry canine who bites you, visit a doctor no matter how benign it seems. And, of course, if your pooch happens to lick your open wound, going in to get checked wouldn't be a waste of time.

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