A Wisconsin man needed several amputations after he contracted a blood infection after being licked by a dog, WITI-TV reported. A report in the journal BMJ Case Reports in 2016 said these infections were an important cause of sepsis in the elderly, and described them as the "lick of death".
Greg Manteufel of West Bend lost both legs and both hands last month.
Greg Manteufel, 48, went to the hospital on June 27 after he began exhibiting flu-like symptoms and, within hours of being admitted, he went into septic shock, according to a GoFundMe page started on his behalf.
"It hit him with a vengeance - just bruising all over him", said his wife, Dawn Manteufel.
Doctors pumped him with antibiotics to stop the infection, his wife said, but clots blocked the flow of blood to his extremities, causing tissue and muscles to die.
Subsequent testing revealed that Manteufel had contracted an infection from a bacteria identified as capnocytophaga, which is found in dog saliva.
She told of how it had caused Manteufel's blood pressure to drop dramatically, causing plunging blood circulation to his legs.
"He kept just saying, 'Take what you need, but keep me alive.' And they did it - surprisingly enough, they did do it", Dawn Manteufel said.
Doctors say this case is simply a fluke. As the damage grew more severe, he had to have both of his legs amputated above his kneecaps.
Not even a week later, his legs were amputated.
Dr Silvia Munoz-Price, an infectious disease specialist with Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin, told WITI that Mr Manteufel's case is an extremely rare occurrence and that pet owners need not panic.
After discovering the Manteufels have a pet dog named Ellie, the medical staff told Dawn that her husband likely was infected after being licked.
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. "It's just chance", Munoz-Price said.
Family friend Jason Marchand, who set up the page, said: 'Greg has held his head high and is taking all the news like a beast. In fact, it can also be found in human mouths, and is usually not harmful - it causes what's known as "opportunistic infections", normally only affecting people with weakened immune systems.