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Man Loses Limbs After Dog Licks Him, So Doctor Explains The Real Dangers Of Pet Kisses

by Kim Wong-Shing
Kim Wong-Shing is a staff writer at LittleThings. Her work spans beauty, wellness, pop culture, identity, food, and other topics. She is a contributing writer at NaturallyCurly, and her work has also appeared in HelloGiggles, Lifehacker, Wear Your Voice Magazine, and other outlets. She grew up in Philadelphia, attended Brown University, and is now based in New Orleans.

Most dog lovers allow their pups to lick them sometimes. With those adorable faces, how could we not? But in rare cases, dog saliva can be extremely dangerous. A Wisconsin man contracted a potentially deadly bacteria after enjoying some affectionate dog kisses, and doctors were forced to amputate both of his legs as well as his hands.

Greg Manteufel, 48, attended a neighborhood party at a park near his home. That’s where the fateful licks took place.

“There were like five dogs at the party… I was touching all of them because I love dogs,” Greg told Inside Edition. “I ended up not washing my hands and rubbing my eye or my face or my mouth somehow.”

Dog saliva often contains a bacteria called Capnocytophaga canimorsus. The bacteria is found in 75% of dogs — and in cats as well — but it rarely causes infections in humans. When it does, though, the results can be fatal.

Shortly after the party, Greg developed sepsis. His wife, Dawn Manteufel, rushed him to the hospital. He was delirious, and it “looked like somebody beat him up with a baseball bat,” Dawn told WITI. Within moments of being admitted to the hospital, Greg went into septic shock.

In addition to losing his legs and hands, Greg is about to lose his nose, too. But he’s not dwelling on what he’s lost. He’s just thankful to be alive.

“He didn’t survive to lay in bed and cry about it,” Dawn said.

If Greg’s story makes you want to never pet a dog again, don’t fret. Greg’s doctors say 99% of dog owners will never deal with this issue. There’s always a small chance of infection, but most dog licks are completely harmless.

“In my opinion, you can still have your dog lick you, and yes, you will be fine,” says veterinarian Dr. Jeffrey Werber.

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