Bacteria in dog saliva causes Wisconsin man to lose both legs

Henrietta Brewer
August 2, 2018

Later, doctors had to amputate through to the kneecaps.

She said life as they knew it changed forever after blood tests revealed an infection caused by the bacteria Capnocytophaga.

His wife, Dawn Manteufel spoke with Fox 6 about his symptoms, stating that the disease hit him with vengeance, bruising him all over. After his wife rushed him to the hospital, she noticed his body was covered in bruises, as if he'd been beaten with a baseball bat, the Washington Post reported.

A bacteria called Capnocytophaga canimorsus attacked Greg Manteufel quickly and aggressively. A report in the journal BMJ Case Reports in 2016 said these infections were an important cause of sepsis in the elderly, and described them as the "lick of death". Up to 74 percent of dogs have the bacteria and 57 percent of cats have it.

Approximately 30% of people who do get infected die, which is why it's essential to see a doctor if you are bitten by an animal. Severe infections can be fatal within 72 hours after symptoms appear. They can range from flu-like symptoms to sepsis. Antibiotics are needed to treat a Capnocytophaga infection and should be started as soon as possible to prevent further complications.

Long-term effects can include amputation, heart attack, and kidney failure.

The faster the infection is diagnosed the better the chance of survival.

In a review of more than 450 patient cases, just 27 percent had contracted the bacteria from scratches, licking, or unspecified contact with dogs or cats. Surgery is scheduled to remove a portion of both hands as the damage from the sepsis is to extensive. He had just undergone a surgery to remove dead tissue and muscle from what is left of his lower extremities. Among the operations he will need is plastic surgery to rebuild a healthy nose.

"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. "He's 48 years old and been around dogs all of his life, and this happens", Dawn said. has reached out to the family for comment but has not received a reply.

Dr. Silvia Munoz-Price, an infectious disease specialist with Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin, told the station: "This type of bacteria comes from the saliva of dogs".

The family has since set up a GoFundMe to raise money for the operations and rehabilitation that Manteufel will need, and it's already raised over $10,000.

"More than 99 percent of the people that have dogs will never have this issue", she said.

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