The shocking reason this Wisconsin man's legs, hands were amputated: Dog saliva

The shocking reason this Wisconsin man's legs, hands were amputated: Dog saliva
Washington Post
More from Washington Post
August 1, 2018
August 1, 2018 9:43 AM EDT
Greg Manteufel’s symptoms began with fever and vomiting, as if he had the flu. But by the following morning, he was delirious, and his temperature had soared.
His wife rushed him to the hospital, a quick drive from their Wisconsin home. Once they arrived, Dawn Manteufel said she noticed bruises – several of them, all over his body – that weren’t there when they left their house just five minutes earlier. To Dawn, it was as if her husband had just been beaten with a baseball bat.
Within a week at the hospital, the 48-year-old who paints houses for a living and loves to ride his Harley-Davidson motorcycle lost his legs. And then his hands.
Greg Manteufel suffered a rare blood infection after harmful bacteria from a dog’s saliva seeped into his bloodstream, causing sepsis, or blood poisoning from bacteria. The sepsis resulted in blood spots that looked like bruises all over his body, particularly on his chest and face. Doctors pumped him with antibiotics to stop the infection, his wife said, but clots blocked the flow of blood to his extremities, causing tissue and muscles to die.
The bacteria, called Capnocytophaga canimorsus, “just attacked him,” Dawn said, and it did so quickly and aggressively. To save his life, doctors had to cut his legs from the knee down, and then his hands.
“Why him? Why did this happen to us?” Dawn asked.
Capnocytophaga canimorsus is a bacteria commonly found in dogs and cats. It’s present in the saliva of most healthy dogs and is usually not harmful to humans. But in rare cases, the bacteria can poison the blood and cause death.
Dawn Manteufel said doctors told them her husband’s case is not common but more like a “crazy fluke.” She said she doesn’t know which dog was carrying the bacteria that attacked her husband. About the time he got sick, he had been around eight dogs, including one that belongs to the couple. The bacteria could have come from any of those dogs that licked him, Dawn said.
“He loves dogs. He would touch any dog; he doesn’t care,” she said of her husband of 15 years.
Greg Manteufel has been at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee for about a month. By late morning Tuesday, several doctors had gathered around his hospital bed, checking his vital signs and asking him questions, as he lay with his thighs propped up by a pillow, his wife told The Washington Post. He had just undergone a surgery to remove dead tissue and muscle from what is left of his lower extremities. This week, he will have two more, again to clean up dead tissue.
He’s in good spirits, his wife said, aware of what he has lost but at peace that he must now live an entirely different life, sitting in a power wheelchair.
“He told the doctors, ‘Do what you have to do to keep me alive,’ ” Dawn Manteufel said. “There’s no negativity from him so far . . . He said, ‘It is what it is, so we have to move forward.’ ”
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. Then his wife will sell their house in West Bend, Wisconsin, just north of Milwaukee, so they can buy a one-story house. He can no longer ride his Harley, or drive his stick-shift truck, or paint houses.
His days in the hospital are also far from over. He may have to go through a reconstruction surgery for his nose, his wife said, because lack of blood flow caused it to turn black. Prosthetic limbs and more treatment at a rehabilitation center still await him. A GoFundMe campaign has raised nearly $30,000 as of Wednesday.
“There’s no choice. We have no choice but to be positive and make the best of it,” said Dawn Manteufel, who had used all her vacation days from her job as a correctional officer at Washington County Jail in West Bend.
Capnocytophaga canimorsus is commonly transmitted by dog bites and is usually life-threatening to people who suffer from alcoholism or are asplenic, meaning their spleens don’t function normally. Symptoms typically worsen rapidly.
A case report published by the peer-reviewed medical journal BMJ recounted the story of an elderly woman who may have been licked by her household pet and later suffered sepsis and organ failure. The woman recovered after two weeks in an intensive-care unit, says the report, which aptly called the sepsis-causing bacteria the “lick of death.”

where did he lick him?
'I STILL LIKE DOGS': Man determined to walk again after blood infection from pet
Associated Press
October 2, 2018
October 2, 2018 5:55 PM EDT
Greg Manteufel, right, thanks medical staff at Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin on Tuesday, Oct.2, 2018, in Milwaukee.Ivan Moreno / AP Photo
MILWAUKEE — A Wisconsin man who lost his hands, feet and parts of his arms and legs to a rare blood infection transmitted by dog saliva was praised by his doctors Tuesday for his positive outlook and determination to walk again with prosthetics.
Greg Manteufel, 48, was discharged two weeks ago from the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. Since late June, he has undergone at least 10 surgeries during which surgeons amputated parts of each of his limbs because circulation to his extremities shut down due to the infection.
“Through all of this, the real star of the show is Greg. He’s had the most positive attitude of any patient I have ever met and he’s approached this with a fight that I don’t think I’ve seen in any patient,” Dr. Patrick Hettinger, a plastic surgeon, said during a news conference about Manteufel’s recovery.
Manteufel, who worked as a house painter before his illness, started feeling sick on June 26, with a fever and pain and his legs. When he was eventually taken to the hospital, doctors found he had contracted a rare blood infection caused by capnocytophaga bacteria that are commonly found in the saliva of cats and dogs and that almost never lead to people getting sick.
Manteufel has a dog, but doctors don’t know if it was his pet or another dog that gave him the infection.
“I just couldn’t believe it,” Manteufel told reporters. “I’ve been around dogs my whole life. It’s hard to take, you know?”
Manteufel’s horrific ordeal hasn’t changed his love of dogs. His wife, Dawn Manteufel, said one of the first things their dog did when her husband returned home was snuggle up with him to watch the Green Bay Packers.
“I still like dogs,” he said.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, up to 74 per cent of dogs and up to 57 per cent of cats carry capnocytophaga. People also have a different strain of the same bacteria in their mouths.
The CDC doesn’t track the number of infections from capnocytophaga because they’re so rare.
Greg Manteufel, left, and his wife Dawn Manteufel, speak to reporters on Tuesday, Oct.2, 2018, in Milwaukee, about his recovery from a rare blood infection that led to the amputation of part of his forearms and legs. Ivan Moreno / AP Photo
Manteufel still has a long way to go with his recovery. The loss of circulation that cost him part of his limbs also almost took his nose and upper lip and will require reconstructive surgery in stages over the next year, Hettinger said.
His prosthetics also will be fitted in stages as his skin and wounds begin to heal, said Dr. David Del Toro, physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist at the hospital.
Manteufel said his main goal is to walk and drive again “so I can get back on with life, not just be stuck somewhere.”
Del Toro said he has no doubt he’ll achieve that.
“No one has the determination of Greg. I believe he’s going to achieve all his goals, it’s just going to take a long journey,” Del Toro said.