The Dog Bite

November 8, 2010 09:43 – 09:43

Here’s a recap of my Saturday dog bite adventure. At about 12:15 pm, I was walking along the sidewalk in the 1900 block of Shenandoah Road, minding my own business when someone’s medium-sized leashed weimaraner lunged and bit my exposed forearm. I was wearing a long sleeved shirt with the sleeves rolled up.

The dog made two lunges—the first was successfully foiled by the owner. The second restraint attempt failed, and the dog successfully bit my left forearm. Here’s the bite as it appeared about two hours later:

This was an improvement. About 10 minutes after the bite, there was a huge purple knot on my arm (a hematoma, Kaiser told me), teeth marks, and a little blood. On this occasion, I had parked near Mt. Vernon Hospital, so I didn’t have a super long walk, but it still took about 40 minutes to get home. There, I washed the wound with soap and water, rubbing alcohol, and hydrogen peroxide, and then slathered on some generic neosporin, all while dialing Kaiser’s after hours advice.

I spent about an hour on hold for the Kaiser advice nurse to tell me whether the rest of my Saturday afternoon would be shot. When they finally answered, it turned out that my tetanus shot was recent enough, and the wound not so bad that I would have to get treatment. Yay.

Kaiser did tell me that I needed to report the bite to animal control, which I did. About 30 minutes after I called them, a nice Animal Control officer showed up at my door and took my report. I gave him the approximate address of the weimaraner. He located the owner’s house and verified that the dog had had its shots. So, it looks like the dog and I are both safe from rabies. It turns out that in Virginia, when your dog bites someone, you’re required by law to report it. I didn’t know that. I’ve no clue if the woman had reported the bite… but it’s certainly been reported now.

About 8 hours after the bite, here’s what it looked like—the purple area about 10 cm by 5 cm:

And almost two days after the bite, the purple is starting to blotch a little, having spread out to about 15 cm by 8 cm. Only when I was bitten did it really hurt badly. Since then, there’s a little bit of general pain, but mostly not much pain unless I accidentally bump the bite.

I’m usually vigilant about steering wide of people walking dogs, thinking I was being too cautious. I no longer think it’s possible to be too cautious, and I will resume my exaggerated dog avoidance strategy. If the dog walker asks why, I can show them Exhibit B (for Bite).

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