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Bacteria: The Tiny Reason That Even a Minor Dog Bite Can Be a Big Deal

Streptococcus

Staphylococcus aureus

Pasteurella

Escherichia coli

Fusobacterium

Peptostreptococcus

Capnocytophaga… 

These are just a few of the more than 300 potentially dangerous bacteria that can live in a dog’s mouth. When a dog bites, these microorganisms are transferred to the dog bite victim. If it’s a deep bite, the bacteria can enter the muscles, bones, or blood causing an infection that can be difficult to fight.

Infection is one reason it is very important that every Wisconsin dog bite victim seek medical attention immediately after the dog attack.

Common Wisconsin dog bite infections

  • Pasteurellosis: Pasteurellosis is a common, yet serious, infection caused by the bacteria Pasteurella. Almost all cats and dogs carry this bacterium in their mouths. The initial infection will appear two to twelve hours after the bite. The bite area will be painful, swollen, and red. If untreated, pasteurellosis can spread into muscle, tendons, and bones and cause permanent damage. Pasteurellosis is usually treated with high dose penicillin. 
  • Strep and staph infections: Both Streptococcus and Staphylococcus infections are very common in dog bite victims. The initial signs include pain, redness, and swelling. If untreated, these infections can spread quickly. If these infections reach the blood, they can cause a type of blood poisoning called bacteremia, which can lead to a life-threatening condition called sepsis. MRSA is a staph infection that is resistant to antibiotic treatment.
  • E. coli infection: Escherichia coli is often associated with food poisoning. This bacterium naturally lives in the lower intestine of mammals, but when it gets into the blood, it can cause a serious infection.
  • Fusobacterium: Fusobacterium is another common bacterium. It may cause meningitis in dog bite victims.
  • Capnocytophaga: Capnocytophaga is a bacterium that lives on the teeth of dogs and cats. When transmitted to humans through a dog bite, Capnocytophaga can cause a dangerous infection. Thirty percent of patients who develop this infection die.


Even a minor dog bite can cause a serious infection. If an infection is caused as a direct result of a Milwaukee dog bite, the owner of the dog is responsible for the dog bite victim’s medical expenses. In addition to medical expenses, a Wisconsin dog bite victim may also seek compensation for his pain and suffering, lost wages, and any other expenses related to the injury.

If you are a dog bite victim, it is important that you know all of your legal options. To discuss your Wisconsin dog bite case with a Milwaukee dog bite lawyer, contact Hupy and Abraham at 800-800-5678