A PET owner has died after catching a rare infection from his dog’s saliva which left him with gangrene and horrific blisters.
The 63-year-old, who has not been named, was completely healthy before being struck down with the devastating disease, doctors said.
He spent more than two weeks suffering in hospital with a string of serious health conditions including pneumonia, gangrene and a fever of 41C.
The man was infected with Capnocytophaga canimorsus, a bacteria which is normally transmitted by bites – but can be spread through just a lick.
When the man first went to hospital he had had flu-like symptoms for three days, a fever and had difficulty breathing.
His devastating story was reported in a medical journal by doctors from the Rote Kreuz Krankenhaus in Bremen, Germany.
Once medical treatment was underway, the man was already diagnosed with sepsis, and the man needed intensive care to try and save his life.
In the first four days while he was in hospital his condition got significantly worse, beginning with a rash on his face and nerve pain and bruises in his legs, reported Daily Mail.
What is Capnocytophaga canimorsus?
Capnocytophaga Canimorsus, a bacterial pathogen, is typically found in the saliva of cats and dogs.
It has the rare ability to cause disease in healthy individuals but has been known to cause severe illness in people with pre-existing conditions or compromised immune system.
The bacteria’s transmission can occur through bites, licks or even close proximity to the animals.
Symptoms usually appear within one to eight days of exposure, but mostly on the second day. They can range from flu-like symptoms to sepsis.
Infection can usually be treated effectively with antibiotics and is recommended for a minimum of three weeks.
But there can be long-term side effects include amputation from gangrene, heart attack, and kidney failure.
The faster the infection is diagnosed the better the chance of survival. About 30 percent of all those infected die.
This then progressed to his kidneys and liver shutting down and blood clotting in his blood vessels, starting to rot his skin away.
These horrific effects then tragically led to a cardiac arrest.
The deadly infection he contracted is most often triggered by bites, according to doctors.
Medics were surprised it happened after licking alone, as the bug is rare and, according to one study in the Netherlands, affects only one in every 1.5million people.
It is fatal in around 28 to 31 per cent of cases.
The man did not even have an open wound to begin with, which they said could have explained the more serious illness.
The 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.”