Lifestyle & Human Interest

Rare Infection Likely Caused by Puppy Forces Woman To Have Hands and Legs Amputated


A dog mom in Canton, Ohio went through a horrific ordeal earlier this year when she returned from a vacation in the Caribbean to find that a violent infection had taken hold of her body.

No mysterious, tropical illness was to blame, however. It appeared that the culprit was much closer to home.

After arriving back in Ohio, Marie Trainer came down with what she assumed was the flu. But it wasn’t long before her symptoms began to worsen into a much more dangerous condition.

“She was in and out of consciousness and complaining of excruciating hand and leg pains,” an admin on Trainer’s GoFundMe campaign wrote. Trainer’s family rushed her to the hospital, where her symptoms grew even more serious. Within hours, she had developed sepsis.

“The family received devastating news that the unknown source of her illness had attacked the small vessels in her arms, hands, legs and feet. The mysterious infection had yet to reveal its self and her organs were shutting down.”

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They were told Trainer would die unless her arms and legs were partially amputated. Doctors put Trainer into a medically-induced coma, WXIN reported.

“When I opened my eyes, I didn’t know where I was. It was very hard to find out that they had to remove my legs and my arms,” she told WXIN. “Very hard to cope with.”

By that time, doctors had identified the cause of Trainer’s condition: capnocytophaga canimorsus. Trainer now suspects that she may have picked up the disease when one of her dogs licked a small open cut on her arm.

“It was difficult to identify,” Dr. Margaret Kobe, Medical Director of Infectious Disease at the hospital where Trainer was treated, told KOCO-TV. “We’re kind of the detectives. We went through all these diagnoses until we could narrow things down.”

“If you get bit by a dog you definitely need to go on antibiotics and to wash your hands when playing with a dog, especially with an open cut,” Kobe added according to WXIN.

She went on to explain that such an extreme reaction to this type of infection is incredibly rare: almost one in a million. The odds of a person’s immune system responding in such a devastating way are very unlikely. A dog owner could be around a dog carrying the illness over the course of the pet’s entire life and never find himself in danger.

As for Trainer, she is grateful for the second chance at life and still holds her pups dearly in her heart.

“We still love our animals,” she and Matthew Trainer, her husband of 32 years, said.

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But after almost three months in the hospital, the family is looking forward to being home and together again, in spite of the coming challenges.

“I mean what do you do? I had to learn how to sit up, roll over, it’s been just very hard,” Trainer said. Even with tough days ahead, she believes there is much to be thankful for. Trainer hopes her story will encourage others to practice safety habits with their dogs.

Will you be more careful around your pets after reading this story?

“In the days and weeks to come Marie will need many life modifications,” the latest update on the GoFundMe reads. “We have all appreciated the thoughts, prayers, well wishes, and requests of how to help.”

More than anything, Trainer is thankful for the people who have helped her get through this time.

“Every day he feeds me, and dresses me,” she said of her husband. “He’s here every day for me.”

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Laura Stewart was an associate story editor and news and lifestyle contributor for The Western Journal.
Laura Stewart was an associate story editor and news and lifestyle contributor for The Western Journal.
Phoenix, AZ