The tongue of a dog touches numerous surfaces in the course of a day. Some might be downright revolting. Others, however, are part of the special bond between an owner and an animal, like when a dog greets its owner with a big, wet kiss.
Some owners try to limit over-the-top displays of canine affection, while others let their most favorite friend give them a smack right on the lips.
From Wisconsin, however, comes a cautionary tale of what happened after one instance of wet-nosed affection.
The story began when Greg Manteufel, of West Bend, Wisconsin, went to the emergency room last month with what he thought was the flu, WJCK reported.
“It hit him with a vengeance,” his wife, Dawn Manteufel, told WITI. “Just bruising all over him. Looked like somebody beat him up with a baseball bat.”
Eventually, tests showed that Manteufel contracted an infection from a bacteria identified as capnocytophaga. The bacteria can cause severe infections to anyone with a weakened immune system.
The bacteria is routinely found in dog saliva, and is spread through contact with infected dogs. Bacteria passed to humans from severe infections can be fatal.
“This infection in his blood triggered a very severe response on his body,” said Dr. Silvia Munoz-Price, an infectious disease specialist. “More than 99 percent of the people that have dogs will never have this issue. It’s just chance.”
The response was so severe, Manteufel’s circulation system could not cope. Blood stopped flowing to his extremities, which turned black.
First, doctors had to amputate his lower legs. His hands came next, then parts of both forearms.
“Furthermore, all areas of Greg’s body and tissue was affected by the bacteria and the sepsis, the [doctors] say his nose will need extensive repairs, which means he will need plastic surgery to rebuild a new healthy nose,” said a post on the family’s GoFundMe page. “Greg is going to need several more surgeries, lots of time and his family by his side to get [through] this life-changing event.”
His wife said Manteufel is trying to look ahead, even though his days of riding his prized Harley are gone forever.
“He told the doctors, ‘Do what you have to do to keep me alive,'” she said, according to People. “There’s no negativity from him so far… He said, ‘It is what it is, so we have to move forward.'”
“There’s no choice. We have no choice but to be positive and make the best of it,” she added.
Dawn Manteufel said her husband had been around many dogs prior to becoming sick, including their own family pet.
“He loves dogs. He would touch any dog; he doesn’t care,” she said.
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