Dog Bite Scars

Dog bite scars are very common after enduring a dog attack. Dog bite scars may range in severity. Dog bites in which damage is minimal may yield scars which will go away over time, while severe dog attacks may result in scars that are permanently disfiguring or disabling.

Cause of Dog Bite Scars

Any dog bite that punctures the dermis layer of skin can cause a scar. The face and hands are especially susceptible to scarring, and these are some of the most common sites of dog bites. Even the most minor dog bite can cause dog bite scars if a sensitive area is bitten.

Effects of Dog Bite Scars

Dog bite scars can be painful and can cause limitations on mobility. In some cases, an overactive immune system will cause keloid scars or hypertrophic scars to form. These types of scars are larger than normal scars and are raised, which can have an impact on mobility of the area that is scarred. Whether or not these types of scars form, the area of a dog bite scar can be tighter and difficult to move, and may require surgical attention to return to normal function.

Dog bite scars can be especially detrimental to children, as children can be subjected to cruelty from other children as a result of a disfiguring scar. Any victims of dog attacks that have visible dog bite scars are susceptible to psychological damage including depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Psychological damage may be difficult to treat, have a lasting impact on the victim’s life, and inhibit healing.

Treating Dog Bite Scars

Dog bites often require immediate attention to prevent or minimize scarring. This can be tricky, as some procedures, such as suturing, may minimize scarring but can increase the risk of infection. In most cases, dog bite scars will require at least one surgical procedure to reduce the appearance of the scar. For very deep wounds, patients may opt for plastic surgery to eliminate visible scarring.

Treatment methods to reduce or eliminate dog bite scars include:

  • Topical creams and ointments
  • Dermabrasion
  • Skin grafts
  • Laser Surgery
  • Injections
  • Scar massage

Cosmetic Surgery and Insurance Companies

In many cases, victims of dog bites are denied coverage by insurance companies for cosmetic surgery that will reduce the appearance of scars. These procedures are seen by insurance companies as optional, although dog bite scars can do lasting physical and psychological damage. If the patient’s insurance company refuses to cover reconstructive surgery, the patient may wish to pursue legal options in order to recover costs from the dog owner.

 

 

Sources:

“Dog Bites.” American Humane Society. American Humane Society, n.d. Web. 10 Jan 2014. <http://www.americanhumane.org/animals/stop-animal-abuse/fact-sheets/dog-bites.html>.

“Dog Bites.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25 Oct 2013. Web. 10 Jan 2014. <http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/dog-bites/index.html>.

Hanson, Erik. “How to Minimize Dog Bite Scars.”Scarfade. Scarfade, 02 Apr 2013. Web. 10 Jan 2014. <http://www.scarfade.com/blog/how-to-minimize-dog-bite-scars/>.

“Position Statement on Breed-Specific Legislation.”ASPCA. ASPCA, n.d. Web. 10 Jan 2014. <http://www.aspca.org/about-us/aspca-policy-and-position-statements/position-statement-on-breed-specific-legislation>.