German man from Bremen dies after being licked by pet dog

A MAN in Germany died from an infection caused by his dog licking him.

The dog’s saliva gave the unnamed man, 63, a rare infection which left him with a fever, trouble breathing, leg pain, and a rash of purplish-red splotches on his face, arms and legs.

He died 16 days later in hospital after multiple organ failure from pneumonia, gangrene and a fever of 41C. 

The infection was caused by the Capnocytophaga canimorsus bacteria commonly found in the mouths of dogs and cats that usually causes no harm to either animals or owners.

Most at risk from the bacteria are people whose immune systems are compromised, or who drink excessive alcohol.

The man did not have these risk factors, and had only been licked by his dog in the weeks before becoming ill.

Symptoms of the infection can include redness, blisters and swelling around a bite wound, fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, and diarrhea and vomiting.

If you have been bitten by a cat or dog, wash the area immediately with soap and water and see a doctor urgently, especially if you have flu-like symptoms and develop a rash.

The case was reported in last month’s European Journal of Case Reports in Internal Medicine last month.


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Written by

Shirin Aguiar


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