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What Is Capnocytophaga?

What Is Capnocytophaga?
Christian J. Amendt

Dog bites can pose a health hazard for numerous reasons. Of course, the bite itself might cause damage since a dog’s mouth has many sharp teeth and they tend to shake after locking down hard on a victim.

But infection from bacteria living within the dog’s mouth can sometimes pose an even greater danger.

Immediate signs of infection

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examine capnocytophaga infections. This is a type of bacteria in the dog’s mouth that can create illness and infection when it enters the skin or bloodstream of a human victim.

Capnocytophaga infections often begin showing their symptoms around the bite area itself. It may manifest as puffiness and swelling, redness or streaking in the area, and pus. The wound will likely feel tender to the touch and may hurt even without applying pressure.

Fever, chills and other flu-like symptoms may follow within hours or days. The fever of this type of infection could potentially get dangerously high. Victims may also experience nausea and vomiting.

Serious consequences of untreated infection

If left untreated, this infection can progress and may result in complex additional issues such as gangrene or necrosis, i.e. rotting of the flesh in affected areas. Some victims even develop sepsis, which can prove fatal in just a few days especially when left undetected or untreated.

This is why it is important to have a medical professional look over any dog bite injury on the same day that it occurs, preferably as soon as possible. They can properly disinfect and treat the wound, thus greatly lowering the chance of infections like this occurring.