Doctors have been forced to amputate a man's legs and parts of his hands after he suffered sepsis believed to be caused by being licked by a dog.
Greg Manteufel, 48, was exhibiting flu-like symptoms and becoming delirious when bruises began appearing across his face and body. His wife, Dawn Manteufel, watched the bruises grow as she rushed him to the hospital, later telling local news outlet WITI it "looked like somebody beat him up with a baseball bat."
Within moments of being admitted to the Wisconsin-area hospital at the end of June, Mr Manteufel went into septic shock. Blood tests revealed he had contracted a potentially fatal bacteria to humans through a dog, likely his own.
A representative for the New York Animal Hospital told The Independent that it’s "extremely rare" for humans to become ill after contact with Capnocytophaga canimorsus, which was found in Mr Manteufel’s blood. In rare instances, the bacteria — which can be found in dog and cat saliva — may cause infections when it comes in contact with an open wound or burn, while the majority of Capnocytophaga canimorsus-related illnesses occur through dog bites.
In fact, there have only reportedly been 500 cases of sepsis caused by Capnocytophaga canimorsus without a dog bite being found in the US and Canada since 1976.
A GoFundMe page set up to help Mr Manteufel and his family pay for prosthetics and continued hospital costs has raised over $30,000.
"During this process while his family and friends are in panic and chaos Greg has held his head high and is taking all the news like a beast," a description for the donation page read. "He is so thankful to be alive today and is taking one day at a time."
Mr Manteufel is a lover of dogs and constantly shows affection to animals, his wife said. A photo circulated in local news outlets show him laying down closely next to a pit bull with his head on a pillow.
It’s unclear whether the couple’s dog caused Mr Manteufel to contract the bacteria — hospital records indicated he was around at least eight dogs near the time of his illness. Nearly 60 per cent of dogs carry Capnocytophaga canimorsus, according to research.
One report published in BMJ Case Reports, which links capnocytophaga canimorsus to a cause of sepsis in the elderly, described illnesses caused by the bacteria as a "lick of death."
"We can't wrap our heads around it that all of the sudden, he's 48 years old and been around dogs all of his life... and this happens," Ms Manteufel told WITI.
Mr Manteufel remains in hospital and is expected to receive further surgeries which will remove parts of his nose.
Video: Mother Loses Limbs and Sigh to Sepsis After Cat Licked her