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Newswest 9 | Midland, Texas | newswest9.com

Man's legs, hands amputated after contact with dog's saliva

A Wisconsin man who needed to have his limbs amputated due to an infection likely contracted the bacteria from something many people experience daily -- being licked by a dog.
Credit: Provided by Jason Marchand
Greg Manteufel in an undated photo.

A Wisconsin man has reportedly had both legs and hands amputated after he contracted a rare infection that his family says likely came from being licked by a dog.

Greg Manteufel started feeling sick June 27 and went into septic shock, according to a GoFundMe account set up in his name. Doctors confirmed he contracted Capnocytophaga Canimorsus.

Within days of being admitted to the hospital, Manteufel had both feet amputated. Later, doctors had to amputate through to the kneecaps. As the bacteria spread, Manteufel also had to have both hands amputated.

The GoFundMe page said the damage also affected all areas of Manteufel's body and that he will need plastic surgery to rebuild his nose.

"Greg pushes himself every day to do as much as he can to further his recovery," GoFundMe organizer Jason Marchand said in an updated post on July 17.

According to The Washington Post, doctors told Manteufel's wife that the infection was not common and was a "crazy fluke." 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.

“He loves dogs. He would touch any dog; he doesn’t care,” she told the Post.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website says many types of Capnocytophaga are found in the mouths of humans, dogs, and cats. Up to 74 percent of dogs have the bacteria and 57 percent of cats have it.

"These bacteria cause opportunistic infections, which means they have to have the right conditions to cause an infection, such as in a person with a weakened immune system," the CDC website says. "People with weakened immune systems include, for example, those who drink alcohol excessively, who have had their spleens removed, and who have HIV infection or cancer."

It has not been reported whether Manteufel was dealing with any of those issues before he was infected.

The CDC also says that although infections are usually associated with dog or cat bites, some people can develop the infection after close contact with one of those animals -- especially if in contact with a dog's saliva.

Long-term effects can include amputation, heart attack, and kidney failure. The CDC says it's fatal in about 30 percent of people who get infected, sometimes within 72 hours of the onset of symptoms.

The GoFundMe for Manteufel has already surpassed the fundraising goal of $25,000.