Wisconsin Man Loses Limbs From Dog Saliva That Led To Rare Infection

Greg Manteufel

Greg Manteufel

A man who has spent his whole life around dogs was forced to have all four of his limbs amputated after he likely contracted an infection from dog saliva.

Greg Manteufel went to the emergency room last month for flu-like symptoms, WITI reported. To Dawn, it was as if her husband had just been beaten with a baseball bat.

Doctors ran blood tests and discovered he'd become infected with a bacterial pathogen known as capnocytophaga canimorsus, which is found in the saliva of healthy dogs and cats but can lead to infection in humans who are immunocompromised. It can in very rare cases, enter the bloodstream through their licks, bites or other close contact. The bacteria dramatically slows down the body's blood circulation and decreases blood pressure.

His family said they were hoping the surgeries would stop there, however after further analysis, surgeons made the decision to amputate to mid-forearm on both arms "due to extensive damage to the tissues and muscles".

She told the Post that doctors said her husband's case was a "crazy fluke".

The Manteufel family created a GOFUNDME account to raise money for medical expenses. She said she didn't know which dog carried the bacteria, but that he had been around eight dogs at the time he got sick, including one that belongs to the couple.

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Manteufel contracted Capnocytophaga canimorsus, but there are other species of the bacteria that cause lesser side effects compared to what he had to go through.

If you have one of these conditions and are bitten by a cat or dog, the CDC recommends calling your doctor immediately to describe your animal contact. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the bacteria Capnocytophaga live in the mouths of dogs and cats. The bacteria could have come from any of those dogs that licked him, Dawn said.

The CDC calls these rare infections "opportunistic", striking people who have compromised immune systems such as individuals with HIV, cancer, people who have had their spleens removed and sometimes heavy drinkers.

Not even a week later, his legs were amputated. "More than 99 percent of the people that have dogs will never have this issue", Munoz-Price said. According to doctors, Manteufel just had bad luck.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Greg buy replacement prosthetic legs.

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