Man has all limbs amputated after dog's lick leads to infection

A Wisconsin man who needed to have his limbs amputated due to an infection likely contracted the bacteria from something many people experience daily- being licked by a dog

"It hit him with a vengeance - just bruising all over him", said his wife, Dawn Manteufel.

Exactly how Manteufel contracted the bacteria is unknown, but doctors suspect that a lick from his own dog likely started the entire process.

The bacteria Capnocytophaga is found in the saliva of dogs and cats. "People with a weakened immune systems who have difficulty fighting off infections (for example, people with cancer or those taking certain medications such as steroids) are at greater risk of becoming ill", the agency says.

Less than 1,000 cases of such infections from non-bite wounds have been documented in North America since doctors began tracking it in the mid-1970s.

"Sometimes it decreases so much that the arms and legs just die", Dr. Silvia Munoz-Price told WITI.

Doctors told him a blood infection had spread to all four of his limbs and, due extensive tissue and muscle damage, they would be forced to amputate all of his limbs. To Dawn, it was as if her husband had just been beaten with a baseball bat.

"He loves dogs. He would touch any dog; he doesn't care", she told the Post.

For the past month, Manteufel has been at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. "It's just chance", Dr. Munoz-Price added.

His wife reports he remains in good spirits despite all that's happened to him.

First, he must move back in with his parents, at least temporarily, because theirs is a one-level home where he can move around easily. He can no longer ride his Harley, or drive his stick-shift truck, or paint houses. Prosthetic limbs and more treatment at a rehabilitation centre still await him.

Being as positive as they can, Dawn stated they'd rather focus on what her husband has left, than what was taken away. More than 99% of the people that have dogs will never have this issue. Symptoms typically worsen rapidly.

"I would stress that such reactions are very, very rare, and shouldn't prevent us from having close contact with pets", Ho said in a piece for The Conversation.

According to the West Gate Pet Clinic, Capnocytophaga canimorsus infections are transmitted primarily through contact with a pet's saliva, generally through a bite wound, although infections may also be caused by a pet merely licking an open wound or burn.

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