Finding out that your pet has bitten someone can be mortifying, but this is nothing compared to knowing that your snap-happy creature is unvaccinated and has the potential to spread dangerous and even deadly diseases to those around her. So, what should you do if the unthinkable happens and your pet, who is not vaccinated, bites someone?
First aid for animal bites
If the person that your pet bites is with you, before you do anything else you should administer first aid. Aside from the risk of infectious disease being passed on, your pet’s mouth undoubtedly carries a lot of bacteria anyway and these could be transferred to the wound. Prompt action could prevent later infection occurring.
Clean the wound immediately by running it under warm water. You should do this even if the skin doesn’t appear to be broken. If there is any debris such as dirt or hair, wash this away using a clean cloth. If the wound is bleeding, cover it with a clean pad or sterile dressing. If the blood loss is heavy, you may need to apply firm pressure and elevate the part of the body.
In the unlikely event that the bite has severed a body part, wash the severed section, wrap it in a paper towel and pop it into a bag filled with ice. This will increase the likelihood that it can be reattached once at hospital.
Will all pet bites result in illness?
Just because your pet is unvaccinated, it doesn’t necessarily mean that she is harboring an infectious disease and the bite could result in little more than some pain and scarring. Nevertheless, it is still possible for an animal to have an underlying illness with no symptoms present since pets are preconditioned to mask any vulnerabilities they have.
Even if your pet does have an infectious disease, it may not necessarily have consequences for the bite victim since not all contagious conditions can be passed from animal to human. Nevertheless, it is crucially important that you let the injured party know that your pet is unvaccinated so that they can receive the right type of medical help. For example, although Rabies vaccinations are required by law, if your pet was to be unvaccinated and then bit a human, they could pass the disease on. Rabies is nearly always fatal, but prompt diagnosis and treatment would give the victim of the bite the best possible chance at recovery.
The legal implications of an unvaccinated pet biting someone
Pretty much every state in the U.S. has a legal rule about pet owner liability arising from the bite of a pet, although the actual implications can vary from state to state. In most instances, however, this means that you as the owner are liable for any injury that your pet causes. Some of the damages that could be claimed for by the injured party, or in the case of death their loved ones, include:
While some insurance policies do include animal bites, the limit of your coverage may prove to be very little compared to the surmountable costs involved if the victim were to suffer anything but a minor injury. Infectious diseases require extensive medical treatment and can have long-term implications for your pet. Ergo, most veterinarians will strongly advice that vaccination is the single most effective way of preventing the effects and transmission of any infectious illness. Call Barry Veterinary Hospital today to schedule your vaccination appointment.