Healthy pet owner catches deadly infection from dog lick

If you’re like me and you literally can’t get enough love from your dog, you’ll have no problem letting it lick you to show its affection.

It’s something I’ve always done and not really though too much of. What’s more, I know I’m not alone. I mean, who doesn’t like getting kisses off a furry friend?

Well, that might well change after a 63-year-old man reportedly contracted a fatal disease from his dog’s saliva.

Credit: European Journal of Case Reports in Internal Medicine

According to reports, the owner in question spent more than two weeks in hospital with a host of different infections caused by the rare infection. They included gangrene, pneumonia and an extremely high fever, culminating in his death.

It’s reported the dog infected him with Capnocytophaga canimorsus, a sort of bacteria usually transmitted by bites. Only the dog didn’t bite him, it merely licked him.

The man was admitted to hospital with flu-like symptoms including fever and difficulty breathing. This progressed to severe sepsis that left him fighting for his life in ICU.

Credit: Shutterstock (Stock Photo)

The European Journal of Case Reports in Internal Medicine detail the man’s plight, stating that his condition rapidly deteriorated over the first four days he was in hospital.

His kidneys and liver began to shut down. Sepsis then set in, leading to an eventual cardiac arrest. He was placed on life support after being resuscitated, but his condition continued to worsen.

Credit: European Journal of Case Reports in Internal Medicine

A fungal infection developed in his lungs, leading to suspected pneumonia and MRSA. Scans of his brain revealed a build-up of fluid that had caused permanent damage to the organ.

His family opted to stop life support after 16 days, resulting in him passing away.

The research team, led by Dr Naomi Mader, wrote: “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 [breathing problems and rash].

“Physicians confronted with such patients should ask about contact with dogs and cats.”

I didn’t know such diseases could be transmitted purely by a lick, but it’s certainly something I’m going to be thinking about moving forward.

We all love our pets, but perhaps it’s not a good idea to let them lick our faces.

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