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Having pain and stiffness from a dog bite. Bite is on right calf at the back of knee. Had tetanus shot. Is it some nerve damage?

May 2014
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Practicing since : 2002
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Dear Doctor, I am wondering why I am still having pain and stiffness from a dog bite that I received 3 months ago. This dog bite was incurred when my Pit Bull accidentally bit me when trying to fight with my other dog. The bite is located on my right calf, 1 inch below the back of my knee. It required 4 stitches. There was another wound about 1 inch down and 2 inches to the left of the previously described wound which did not require stitches. After the bite, I took antibiotics but not the full course and did not have a tetanus shot since I had no health insurance. Also, there was a hard lump near the second wound for about a month which went away. Also, there is some nerve damage, I believe, because I have no feeling in a certain area in the middle of the bottom muscle of the same calf. Why I am still having a soreness, pain, and stiffness in this area after 3 months? Any suggestions?
Posted Fri, 8 Nov 2013 in Infections
Answered by Dr. Vivek Chail 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Please find detailed answer below

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for writing in to us.

I have read through your query in detail.

Taking complete course of antibiotics and tetanus shot are most important in the treatment of any wound that requires stitches. I hope your doctor has examined the injury to see whether the bite was deep enough to damage muscles, tendons, nerves, or bones. Cleaning the bite wound to remove any dirt or bacteria might have been done. It's rare for dogs in the U.S. to have rabies, but if the dog's health status is unknown, or the dog has not been vaccinated for rabies, you should have taken a rabies vaccine.

Sometimes, sutures are used to close a dog bite wound; however, this practice is controversial. Although suturing the injury can reduce scarring, it also can increase the risk of infection. Whether the injury is closed may depend on its location.

It's rare for dogs in the U.S. to have rabies, but if the dog's health status is unknown, or the dog tests positive for rabies, you will need to get a rabies vaccine. You need to take antibiotics for seven to 14 days to prevent or treat an infection.

From your query I find that there has been incomplete antibiotics course and no tetanus shot. You never know if there is still some infection inside or if the healing is taking time because of stitches. I suggest you to see your doctor and get your wound healing reviewed. Do tell them that you have not taken tetanus shot and that needs to be taken too. If necessary please take a complete course of antibiotics. There are enzyme medications with pain killer medications to enhance healing and decrease pain and swelling.

I hope this answers your query.
Do write in in case of doubts.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Having pain and stiffness from a dog bite. Bite is on right calf at the back of knee. Had tetanus shot. Is it some nerve damage? 1 hour later
Thank you, Dr. Chail.

The pain never completely went away but over the last 2 days it started hurting badly. I think that the pain got worse after I tried to gently massage it.

I originally did not get the tetanus shot because I was afraid of the cost. The emergency room where I got the 4 stitches, because I have no health insurance, charged me $3438 US dollars for 1 hour and 15 minutes of time. I ended up removing the stitches myself because I did not want another large XXXXXXX Because of this, I have not received any follow-up care. The wound was deep and I still have no nerve feeling in the middle of the calf.

Well, it sounds like this pain, after 3 months, is not a normal part of the healing process. I guess that I will have to go ahead and see a doctor for antibiotics and a Tetatus shot. The dog, thank God, does not have rabies.

Thanks for your help. I really appreciate it.
Answered by Dr. Vivek Chail 35 minutes later
Brief Answer:

Detailed Answer:
You are welcome and thanks for writing in with an update.

I am so sorry to hear that due to non coverage of insurance, you missed out on the follow up care. There must have been a really deep wound and the muscles and nerves might have got injured.

Dog bite wound treatment requires wound inspection regularly to see that it is healing the right way. Anyways, please get your wound area checked and take necessary treatment.

It is a big relief indeed that the dog does not have rabies.

I hope this answers your query.
Do write back if you have any doubts.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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