Healthy Man Died After Being Licked By His Dog

A healthy 63-year-old man thought he had the flu, turned out to be severe sepsis and purpura fulminans that he got from a dog lick, the bacterial infection caused his organs to shut down and he died according to European Journal of Case Reports in Internal Medicine.

iStockphoto / MirasWonderland

A man who had been healthy suddenly died after being licked by his own dog according to a medical report. The 63-year-old German man’s death was caused by a rare bacterial infection that was contracted from his dog.

The man first experienced flu-like symptoms, including a fever. However, the malady quickly became even worse as he suffered from difficulty breathing, blood spots on his skin, and pain in his legs.

He was treated in the ICU for 16 days, but doctors could do nothing to stop the infection. Within a 30-hour period, the German man suffered multiple organ failure, including encephalopathy, which is brain damage, plus paralytic ileus, which is paralysis of the intestine. He suffered from cardiac arrest and died, according to a paper published in the peer-reviewed European Journal of Case Reports in Internal Medicine. The paper shared photos of the man in the hospital and they are tough to look at.

Doctors at the Red Cross Hospital in Bremen, Germany, who treated the man, said the infection was caused by capnocytophaga canimorsus, a bacterium found in the mouths of dogs and cats.

The infection caused purpura fulminans, a “thrombotic disorder which manifests as blood spots, bruising and discoloration of the skin resulting from coagulation in small blood vessels within the skin and rapidly leads to skin necrosis and disseminated intravascular coagulation.” The man was also dying from severe sepsis, which is the body’s response to occurs when the body’s response to an infection, but instead of attacking the infection, it causes injury to its own tissues and organs.

Doctors pinpointed the culprit of where he contracted capnocytophaga canimorsus, “He had been touched and licked, but not bitten or injured, by his dog, his only pet, in previous weeks,” the paper states. Typically, capnocytophaga canimorsus is transmitted through dog bites.

Physicians warn that individuals with a weak immune system, those who have had their spleens removed, or people with a history of alcoholism are most susceptible to capnocytophaga canimorsus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said the infection is more common in people older than the age of 40.

“Pet owners with flu-like symptoms should urgently seek medical advice when their symptoms exceed those of a simple viral infection, which in this case were severe dyspnoea and petechiae,” medical experts from the paper warn. “Physicians confronted with such patients should ask about contact with dogs and cats.”

There was another story four months ago about an Ohio woman who woke up in a coma after having all of her arms and legs amputated from an infection caused by a dog lick. There was also a Wisconsin man who had to endure 14 surgeries that amputated his arms and legs, plus he lost his nose to the infection. You can read about both of those cases HERE.

MicrobeNet, the online reference library for the CDC, stated that there were 12 cases of capnocytophaga in 2017.