Man has limbs amputated after dog lick led to severe blood infection

A Wisconsin man was forced to have multiple limbs amputated after he contracted a blood infection from a dog lick, WITI reports.

Greg Manteufel, 48, went to the hospital on June 27 after he began exhibiting flu-like symptoms and, within hours of being admitted, he went into septic shock, according to a GoFundMe page started on his behalf.

Through a blood test, doctors diagnosed Manteufel with an infection caused by Capnocytophaga canimorsus, a bacteria often found in dog and cat saliva.

According to the West Gate Pet ClinicCapnocytophaga canimorsus infections are transmitted primarily through contact with a pet's saliva, generally through a bite wound, although infections may also be caused by a pet merely licking an open wound or burn.

Manteufel's GoFundMe page states that Capnocytophaga canimorsus is fairly common and grows in the mouths of up to 60 percent of dogs and 17 percent of cats. However, there have only been about 500 cases logged in the U.S. and Canada since 1976 of the bacteria causing sepsis when no dog bite was found.

Manteufel's wife, Dawn, said her husband was the picture of health before contracting the bacteria. 

"It hit him with a vengeance," she said. "Just bruising all over him. Looked like somebody beat him up with a baseball bat."

Manteufel's infection, which likely originated from his own dog, caused his blood pressure to drop and the circulation in his limbs to decrease rapidly.

Within days of being admitted to the hospital, Manteufel had to have both of his feet amputated. As the damage grew more severe, he had to have both of his legs amputated above his kneecaps. Manteufel has more surgery schedules to remove a portion of both his hands and part of his nose as well.

"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," said Dawn Manteufel.

Dr. Silvia Munoz-Price, an infectious disease specialist with Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin, told WITI that Manteufel's case is an extremely rare occurrence and that pet owners need not panic. 

"More than 99 percent of the people that have dogs will never have this issue. It's just chance," she told the station.

To contribute to Manteufel's medical fund, click here.  

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