With sharp teeth and long claws, dogs have the potential to inflict grievous harm on anyone. In fact, the American Veterinary Medical Association reports that roughly 20% of bite victims require emergency medical treatment. The AVMA further notes children are most likely to become victims of dog attacks.
Even if your child’s physical wounds heal, psychological injuries may last forever. Here are three common psychological injuries young bite victims may suffer in an attack.
Cynophobia, which is a clinical fear of dogs, may develop after a single attack. If your child has cynophobia, he or she may have dog-associated anxiety every time he or she is in a place where dogs tend to be. Going to the park, taking a walk or even sitting on the porch may become virtually impossible for cynophobia sufferers.
2. Body dysmorphia
Common among teenagers, body dysmorphia occurs when a child obsesses over imperfections on his or her body. If a dog attack leaves the young one in your family with facial scars or scars to other parts of the body, your son or daughter may develop body dysmorphia.
3. Post-traumatic stress disorder
PTSD is a common consequence of traumatic experiences. If your child develops PTSD after a dog attack, he or she may experience nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety or depression. While medication and therapy may help your child cope with PTSD, it is unlikely ever to go away.
After a dog attack, your paramount concern must be your child’s physical well-being. Ultimately, though, because your child may have difficulty discussing psychological injuries, you also may need to connect him or her with a qualified mental health professional.