I don’t know about you, but I routinely let most dogs I encounter lick me as much as they want. Now, after learning about this story, I can say that maybe I need to back off a little bit…
A 63-year-old man in Germany began to feel ill and ultimately died – and the culprit might freak you out a little bit: the man’s dog licked his face. A couple of weeks later, he got a fever, started experiencing muscle pains, and then had trouble breathing. He decided to go to the hospital to find out what was going on and he received some awful news: he had advanced kidney damage and liver dysfunction.
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He was admitted to the hospital but things took a turn for the worse. The doctors realized he was suffering from gangrene and that he had a terrible sepsis infection.
Of course correlation is not causation, so how do we know it was the dog licking that did it?
The man’s bloodwork showed that he was infected with Capnocytophaga canimorsus, which is a bacteria usually found in the saliva of cats and dogs.
No treatments worked on the poor man, and he suffered for 16 days as multiple organs failed. Sadly, his family eventually decided to turn off his life support and the man passed away.
Man dies after licked by his dog & contracting rare infection.
Capnocytophaga canimorsus, from mouths of dogs & cats, can cause (rarely) a flu-like illness followed by severe sepsis. Zoonotic diseases can't be forgotten; actually on the rise globally.https://t.co/xDqIhGepIx
— Christopher Lee (@chriskc_Lee) November 26, 2019
This may sound like something that has never happened before or that would never happen again, but there were two other cases of humans contracting Capnocytophaga canimorsus from dogs in 2018 alone. A 58-year-old woman in Wisconsin died after her dog nipped her, and a man, also from Wisconsin, contracted the bacteria after spending time with eight puppies. The man had to have both of his legs amputated and parts of his hands removed because of the infection.
Our advice: if you happen to be bitten by a dog or a cat, wash the area immediately with soap and water, and have a doctor take a look at the wound just to be on the safe side. Yikes…