US man loses legs, arms and nose after being licked by his dog

Greg Manteufel had four limbs amputated after contracting sepsis from his pit bull.
Greg Manteufel had four limbs amputated after contracting sepsis from his pit bull. Photo credit: Facebook/Dawn Zwicker-Manteufel

A US man lost both his legs, most of his nose and some of his arms after contracting a rare bacterial infection from his affectionate dog.

Wisconsin native Greg Manteufel went to the emergency room with what he thought was a cold. But his symptoms, which included bruising all over his body, turned out to be something far more serious.

The 48-year-old had contracted sepsis, a dangerous infection of the bloodstream - and his beloved pit bull was to blame. It's believed the bacteria capnocytophaga was passed to Mr Manteufel when the dog licked him.

Dr Silvia Munoz-Price, a Wisconsin infectious disease expert, says the bacterium usually comes from "the saliva of dogs".

"More than 99 percent of the people who have dogs will never have this issue," he told Fox 6. "It's just chance."

The infection triggered a severe response in Mr Manteufel's body, causing low blood pressure to cut off circulation to his limbs, turning them black. Within days of being admitted to hospital both his feet were amputated, and then both legs up to the knee caps.

He needed additional surgeries to amputate parts of his hands and then half of both his forearms. His nose was also affected by sepsis, meaning he will need reconstructive surgery in the future.

The Manteufel family has created a GoFundMe account to raise money for his prosthetic limbs and nose surgery. The page says that while his family and friends were panicked by the medical emergency, Mr Manteufel "held his head high and [took] the news like a beast".

More than US$24,000 (NZ$35,290) has been raised for his medical bills to date.

Capnocytophaga Canimorsus grows in the mouths of up to 60 percent of dogs and 17 percent of cats. Considered a normal bacteria, there have been just 500 incidents of non-bite contact causing sepsis in humans in the US and Canada since 1976.


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