Dog bites are alarmingly common in the U.S., with the majority of victims being children. Sadly, when dogs attack, roughly 20% of bite victims require emergency medical care. After wounds heal, many survivors experience long-term psychological consequences.
Cynophobia, which is a clinical fear of dogs, is a common psychological response to a dog attack. While a mild case of cynophobia may have little effect on your child’s life, more serious cynophobia may be devastating.
Physical symptoms of cynophobia
While cynophobia is a psychological condition, it often comes with physical symptoms that may affect your child’s overall health. These include the following:
- Rapid heart rate
- Breathing difficulties
- Chest pain
Bite victims often experience the physical symptoms of cynophobia when they are in close proximity to dogs. Still, your son or daughter may feel physically ill even when a dog is far away or poses no risk to his or her safety.
Emotional symptoms of cynophobia
The emotional effects of cynophobia can be catastrophic. In addition to experiencing flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety or depression, your child may develop post-traumatic stress disorder. If your son or daughter has a serious case of cynophobia, he or she may even have panic attacks.
Even though child psychologists and other mental health professionals have a variety of options for treating cynophobia, including behavioral therapy, treatment methods are not always successful. Ultimately, if your child’s cynophobia interferes with his or her ability to enjoy life, you may have little choice but to pursue financial compensation from the dog’s owner or handler.