It’s common knowledge that dogs don’t have the most hygienic mouths yet most of us are still happy to allow our dogs to give us a good licking. But we should be aware of the risks.
A 63-year-old German man recently passed away after being afflicted with a bacterial infection passed on to him via his dog’s mouth.
It’s a bacteria called Capnocytophaga canimorsus, which can be found in the saliva of cats and dogs, and can be transferred to humans if they get their saliva on you. In this case, all it took was for his dog to lick him to pass on the virus which then led to an infection, as CNN reported.
The man was in good health before contracting the bacterial infection, according to reports by the European Journal of Case Reports in Internal Medicine. He quickly became feverish, suffered from leg pain, had difficulty breathing, and developed a purple and red colored rash over his face and legs.
He was admitted to the intensive care unit due to organ failure, where his health continued to deteriorate despite being given powerful antibiotics along with other life saving measures carried out.
Blood tests allowed the doctors to identify that the man had the bacteria Capnocytophaga canimorsus. He had not been bitten or injured in any way by a dog over the past couple of weeks but his dog had recently licked him.
Eventually the man’s family and the doctors chose to discontinue treatment and the life support was turned off, according to Global News. He passed away only 16 days after the doctors began treatment.
What is Capnocytophaga canimorsus?
This germ is most commonly found in the mouths of dogs and cats and can be given to humans through biting or other close contact.
If the human has a weakened immune system it may cause an infection. People with weakened immune systems include heavy drinkers, those who have had their spleen removed, or those who have HIV or cancer. If you have any of these conditions then you may be more at risk when interacting with dogs and cats.
However, in most causes Capnocytophaga canimorsus does not lead to infections in humans, and interaction with dogs and cats is typically safe, especially if your immune system is normal.