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When Should I Get a Tetanus Shot After a Dog Bite?

Dog bites can be frightening and painful, but it is important to remember that they can also lead to serious infections, including one known as tetanus. Tetanus can be deadly, so it’s important to be aware of the risks and understand your options. Fortunately, Mory & Colliersmith Personal Injury Attorneys are here to help walk you through what you need if you have just been bitten by a dog, it’s important to know when and if you should get a tetanus shot.

Tetanus shot after a dog bite

Tetanus and Dogs

Tetanus is an infection caused by bacteria that enters your body through open wounds or cuts. People usually think of it as being caused by rusty nails, but it can also be contracted from an animal bite. This type of infection is quite rare in the United States because most people get vaccinated against tetanus at an early age.

However, if you haven’t had a tetanus booster shot within the past five years, then you may need one after being bitten by a dog—particularly if the wound was deep or has not healed properly. The most common symptoms of tetanus include muscle spasms, difficulty swallowing, and fever. If left untreated, this infection can lead to seizures and even death.

Can A Minor Dog Bite Cause Tetanus?

It is possible for minor dog bites—even those that do not break the skin—to cause infection with Clostridium tetani bacteria leading to an illness known as "localized" or "cutaneous" tetanus. Although this type of infection rarely progresses beyond mild muscle spasms near the site of injury, it should still be taken seriously as untreated localized tetanus can lead to more serious forms of disease later on down the line.

Do I Always Need a Tetanus Shot After Being Bitten By A Dog?

The short answer is no—but there are circumstances in which getting a tetanus shot after being bitten by a dog is highly recommended. Generally speaking, it's best to get a tetanus shot if the bite was deep enough to break the skin or if it was inflicted by an animal whose vaccination status is unknown. Additionally, if the bite has caused significant tissue damage or bleeding, then it would be prudent to get the vaccine as soon as possible.

How Long Does It Take for Tetanus To Set In After A Dog Bite?

The time frame between being bitten by an animal and developing symptoms of tetanus varies greatly depending on the severity of the bite wound and other factors such as your current level of immunity. However, in most cases, symptoms will begin within four days of the bite but can take up to three weeks or more in some instances.

How Mory & Colliersmith Can Help

The personal injury attorneys at Mory & Colliersmith have extensive experience dealing with cases involving animal bites. They will be able to advise you on whether or not you should get a tetanus shot after being bitten by a dog and provide further guidance on how best to proceed with filing any legal claims against the owner of the animal who bit you. They will also work with your doctor to make sure that your wound is healing properly and that any necessary vaccinations are administered in a timely manner.

It is imperative that anyone who has been recently bitten by a dog consults with experienced personal injury attorneys like Mory & Colliersmith, PLLC right away in order to ensure that they receive proper medical treatment for their wound and any resulting infections or diseases such as tetanus. Doing so will not only help protect your health but also provide peace of mind knowing that your legal rights are being addressed appropriately and comprehensively during this difficult time in your life. Contact our office today for more information about how we can help! (502) 212-4333 or email us at


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