If a dog has bitten you, you are not alone. In fact, roughly one out of every 73 Americans suffers a dog bite every single year. While many bites are minor, almost 20% of attack victims require immediate medical care. 

Even if you think you have emerged from the attack without sustaining a serious injury, you should ask a doctor to examine you. After all, some injury symptoms may not appear immediately. Furthermore, a dog bite may leave you with certain complications. Here are four of them. 

1. Infection

The dangers of a dog attack do not always stop when the attack ends. Because dogs have potentially harmful bacteria in their mouths, a bite may render you vulnerable to a nasty infection. While antibiotics may help, you may develop infection-related complications. Some of these, such as sepsis and septic shock, may be life-threatening. 

2. Scars

Dogs have sharp teeth that can quickly tear through human flesh. Even if a dog attack does not last long, you may develop substantial scarring. Scars are problematic for a couple reasons. First, scarred skin may be vulnerable to additional injury for the rest of your life. Even worse, if scars are unsightly, they may cause you to sustain psychological harm, such as body dysphoria. 

3. Emotional trauma

Dog attacks can be tremendously stressful events, even when the animal is small. After your physical wounds heal, you may have ongoing emotional trauma. While many bite survivors feel uneasiness when being near dogs, others develop post-traumatic stress disorder or another serious mental health condition. 

4. Medical debt

After a dog bite, you are apt to find yourself in a potentially expensive emergency room. With some luck, your medical bills may stop there. Unfortunately, though, you may also require follow-up or specialist care, rehabilitation or ongoing therapy to recover completely. Costs for these services add up quickly. 

Even if you have health insurance, a dog attack may leave you with mounting medical bills you simply cannot pay. Fortunately, you may be able to pursue compensation for both your initial injuries and your ongoing complications from the animal’s owner or handler.