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Dog bites can have damaging ripple effect on lives of victims

A dog bite can be a painful, traumatic experience. Powerful jaws and sharp teeth combine to tear skin and the tissue beneath. The injuries can be severe and long-lasting.

But even those serious physical and psychological injuries are often not the full extent of the damage done to a dog bite victim. For many, the injuries have a ripple effect, rendering them unable to work and earn a living. No work and no paycheck means the mortgage can go unpaid, health insurance lapses, car loans aren't paid and so on.

The ripple effect is exactly what a former friend of TV personality Phil McGraw refers to her in her lawsuit against the man better known as Dr. Phil.

Janet Harris, a skin-care expert who made numerous appearances on the "Dr. Phil" program was also best friend to Robin McGraw, Phil's wife.

The three were at the McGraw's Beverly Hill residence when the McGraws' dog, Maggie, bit Harris.

Harris alleges that the bite caused a serious arm infection that was treated with a regiment of antibiotics. Those drugs led to a severe hearing loss, which in turn led to the closing of her lucrative Los Angeles skin care business.

The McGraws say that over a year ago their dog, after being startled out of a sleep, did indeed bite Harris. A statement from the couple included photos of Harris's arm taken 10 days after the biting incident.

The McGraws dismiss the bite wounds as "minor."

Harris says the dog's teeth inflicted deep puncture wounds and caused severe bleeding, as well as the many subsequent medical and financial problems.

Resource: Daily Mail: "Dr Phil and wife sued by former best friend after their dog 'brutally attacks her'": February 4, 2011

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