How many times has your do licked you when you weren’t in a place where you could wash the area right away? Do you have a problem with kisses from your pet or is it something that you really haven’t thought much about. This might make you think twice about allowing those wonderful loving canine kisses in the future.
Dog’s lick forces amputations
A Wisconsin man in his late 40’s recently faced life threatening medical complications and it is believed to be from the lick of his own dog. The man contracted a blood infection that is very rare, but in his case, it presented physicians with no alternative but to amputate his legs and some portions of his arms to save his life.
Signs of the flu
When Greg Manteufel started showing symptoms, he thought that he was coming down with the flu. His trip to the hospital very likely saved his life. Blood tests confirmed that it wasn’t the flu that he had, but instead had contracted a rare bacterial infection that is called Capnocytophaga. This infection can cause a severe drop in blood pressure and reduced circulation of blood and oxygen to the limbs. This can result in the tissues dying.
What most people don’t know
There are numerous pet lovers who allow their dogs to give them kisses on the face and on other parts of the body including hands, arms, feet, etc. Some people even believe that there is a healing power in a dog’s tongue, but the truth of the matter is, that however rare, there are times that a dog’s lick can kill or disable you for life. This story is solid proof of the fact.
How common is this bacteria in common household pets?
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the Capnocytophaga bacteria is found in 57% of cats and 74% of dogs. This bacteria does not make dogs nor cats sick, but it’s a lot different for humans. Scratches or bites from dogs or cats and sometimes even just close contact can spread the bacteria to people. Those who have weak immune systems are more vulnerable to contracting the disease.
The real problem that occurs with infected humans is when the bacteria makes its way into the bloodstream and causes an infection of the blood known as Sepsis. Sepsis can led to the death of tissues and organ failure.
What are the signs?
The signs of a bacterial infection usually appear within a period of 3 to 5 days after becoming infected. In some cases, it can take up to 14 days. Symptoms generally include vomiting, muscle or joint pain, fever and diarrhea. Around the site of the bite or scratch you may see redness, swelling, blisters or pus. This can led to a gangrenous condition as in the case of Mr. Manteufel. Amputations were necessary to save his life.
What are the chances of my dog making me sick?
Each case is different and there are certain risk factors which make one person’s risks higher than another. An expert on infectious diseases addresses the concerns that this case has raised over the safety of owning dogs. She firmly stated that Mr. Manteufel’s case is “extremely rare.” She went further to explain that of all dog owners in the world, over 99% of them will never experience this situation. This is good news for pet parents who love their dogs as members of the family.
Tips to prevent animal born diseases
It’s always recommended that you take your dog to the vet for regular checkups, worming and immunizations. They should not be allowed to roam around the neighborhood with stray dogs or wild animals. Any animal bite can lead to infection and serious consequences and while this particular illness is rare, it’s best to be safe. Dogs and cats should be discouraged from rough play that includes biting, jumping up and scratching. If you are bitten by your pet, disinfect and treat the wound immediately. If it’s large enough to need stitches or if it begins to swell, turn red, feel hot or ooze pus, seek medical help immediately. It’s always best to be safe when it comes to animal bites or scratches, even if your pet is fully immunized and in good health.