German man dies weeks after being licked by pet dog
Postmedia News
November 26, 2019
November 26, 2019 12:44 PM EST
The man's right forearm and hand shows gangrene appearing in the fingers.European Journal of Case Reports in Internal Medicine
A friendly lick by a pet pooch turned out to be fatal for a man in Germany.
Doctors who treated the 63-year-old unnamed man documented his case in the European Journal of Case Reports in Internal Medicine, describing a “very rare” scenario where bacteria common in cats and dogs, Capnocytophaga canimorsus, was transmitted to him without being bit.
People who contract the bacteria either have a weakened immune system, problems with their spleen, or abuse alcohol. But this was a healthy man who had none of those issues.
The man admitted himself to Bremen’s Rotes Kreuz Krankenhaus (Red Cross Hospital) and told doctors he had flu-like symptoms for three days.
Doctors noted he had also developed tiny, circular patches on his face, and skin discolouration, muscle aches and pain in both legs.
The man said he was not bitten or injured by his pet recently, and had not travelled out of the country in the weeks before the infection.
After tests were done, the patient was found to have acute kidney injury and signs of liver dysfunction. He was admitted to the hospital’s intensive care unit where treatment began.
There he was diagnosed with severe sepsis and gangrene. Over the next 30 hours, his health began to deteriorate.
The man’s face shows blood spots on the skin after a few days in the hospital. European Journal of Case Reports in Internal Medicine
On the fourth day of hospitalization, blood tests came back and identified the Capnocytophaga canimorsus bacteria.
As the days progressed, the patient’s skin began to blister all over his body and he developed gangrene to all of his extremities.
A CT scan nearly two weeks later revealed the patient’s organs were failing and a lack of oxygen to his brain. The decision was made with family members to reduce treatment. He died of septic shock 16 days after entering the hospital.
The authors of the case study offered some life-saving advice to dog and cat lovers.
“Pet owners with flu-like symptoms should urgently seek medical advice when their symptoms exceed those of a simple viral infection,” the report concluded.