A little lick from a puppy may have led to a life-threatening infection for one woman in Ohio. According to news reports, she needed her hands and legs amputated to save her life. This was all due to a dog kisses disease.
According to CNN, the woman, Marie Trainer, went to the emergency room on May 11. That was after developing a fever, nausea, and backache. The trainer had recently returned from a vacation in the Caribbean. At first, the doctors thought she had a travel-related illness.
But the exact cause of her illness remained a mystery, and Trainer’s health worsened. She lost consciousness and was put into a medically induced coma, according to her GoFundMe page. CNN reported that her skin also started to turn a purplish-red color, and the tissue began to die.
After seven days, doctors finally discovered the cause of her illness. It wasn’t a tropical disease but rather an infection with a bacterium called Capnocytophaga canimorsus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this infection is found in the mouths of dogs and cats.
The Dog Kisses Disease
The bacteria can spread through pet bites, scratches, and even licks. CNN reported that the trainer likely got the infection when her German shepherd puppy licked an open cut on her body.
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Although most people who have contact with dogs and cats won’t get sick with Capnocytophaga, in rare cases, the bacteria can cause illness and even death, according to the CDC. The CDC says that people are at greater risk of contracting Capnocytophaga if they have weakened immune systems.
For example, if they have cancer, diabetes, or HIV or if they’ve had their spleen removed. It’s unclear if Trainer had a condition that weakened her immune system.
“It was just a random and rare occurrence that caused the perfect storm within her body resulting in the devastating illness,” Trainer’s family wrote on her GoFundMe page.
Although Capnocytophaga infections are rare, people who do become infected can develop serious complications, including organ failure and gangrene, according to the CDC. About 30% of people with severe Capnocytophaga infections die from the disease.
The trainer was given antibiotics to get rid of the bacteria, and she ended up staying in the hospital for about 60 days, according to her GoFundMe page. Her infection had caused so much damage to the tissue in her legs and hands that doctors needed to amputate them. So far, she has had eight surgeries and will soon be fitted with prostheses and undergo rehabilitation, CNN reported.
Source: Live Science.