Dog Bites Can Cause Serious Nerve Damage

nerve damageNerve damage can be one of the most serious types of injuries from a dog bite attack. Victims of these incidents often pay close attention to the open wound and watching for infection, but few know the warning signs and symptoms of nerve damage. 

Some large breeds of dogs have a bite strength of 300 pounds per square inch. One dog was found to have a bite strength of 552 pounds — just a little less than the bite force of a lion.

Bite injuries that cause nerve damage can have devastating effects for weeks, months and even years. Victims may not regain their ability to work a job or enjoy life as they had before the attack. Coupled with the severe pain that accompanies nerve damage, these incidents are life-changing.

Signs of Dog Bite Nerve Damage

Dogs generate an incredible amount of force with their bite. When these bites occur in areas where nerves run near the surface of the skin — hands, neck, torso, thighs, stomach — nerve damage may be caused. 

Motor nerves control actions and movements. Signs of motor nerve damage from a dog bite may include:

  • Weakness
  • Paralysis
  • Fasciculation (twitching)
  • Muscle atrophy (muscle wasting)

Sensory nerves control sensation (including pain). Signs of sensory nerve damage from a dog bite may include: 

  • Burning
  • Numbness
  • Pain
  • Prickling or tingling
  • Difficulties with positional awareness

3 Types of Nerve Damage From a Dog Bite

According to Science Daily, an axon, or nerve fiber, is a long slender projection of a nerve cell, or neuron, that conducts electrical impulses away from the neuron's cell body or soma. Axons are the primary transmission lines of the nervous system, and as bundles they help make up nerves.

Dog bite victims will have their nerve damage condition classified in one of three ways, depending on how the axons are affected. 

  • Neurapraxia: A disorder in which there is a temporary loss of motor and sensory function due to blockage of nerve conduction, usually lasting an average of six to eight weeks before full recovery. This is the least serious type of nerve damage. 
  • Axonotmesis: This occurs when a nerve is stretched and there is crushing force to the tissue. Axonotmesis involves an interruption of the axon with partial or no interruption of the connective tissue and may result in paralysis. Typically lasts a few weeks, but may be years.
  • Neurotmesis: Involves anatomic disruption of both the axon and the connective tissue, making it the most serious type of nerve damage from a dog bite. Neurotmesis is often permanent, but immediate and proper medical treatment can help victims partially recover.

Secure Your Legal Future After a Dog Bite

Dog bites can be traumatizing for people of all ages, and the physical and emotional injuries may affect you for years to come. When nerve damage is involved, the lasting effects can be painful and difficult to overcome. 

If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, contact the Washington state attorneys at Davis Law Group, P.S., today to discuss your case with an experienced personal injury lawyer. With our help, you may be able to recover compensation for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages.

For a free case evaluation, call (206) 727-4000, use the contact form on this page or use the convenient chat feature below.

Chris Davis
Award-winning personal injury attorney and founder of Davis Law Group, P.S. in Seattle, Washington.