A Wisconsin man had to have all his limbs amputated after he contracted a severe infection, likely from a lick from his pet dog Ellie.
Last month, Greg Manteufel, from West Bend, started experiencing flu-like symptoms including fever, vomiting and diarrhea.
However, when bruising appeared on his arms and legs, the 48-year-old was rushed to the emergency room.
Doctors told him a blood infection had spread to all four of his limbs and, due extensive tissue and muscle damage, they would be forced to amputate all of his limbs.
'It hit him with a vengeance,' his wife, Dawn Manteufel, told WITI.
'Just bruising all over him. Looked like somebody beat him up with a baseball bat.'
Doctors ran blood tests and discovered he'd become infected with a bacterial pathogen known as capnocytophaga canimorsus.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the bacteria is found in the saliva of healthy dogs and cats.
One 2014 study from Japan found the bacteria to be present in 69 percent of dogs and 54 percent of cats.
The bacteria can be transmitted to humans through bites, licks, or even close proximity with the animal - seeping into the skin even without a cut or scrape.
While most people will not exhibit any symptoms if they become infected, it has been shown to cause severe illness n those who have compromised immune systems, according to a 2003 study from France.
It is unclear if Greg had any pre-existing conditions but he developed sepsis, or blood poisoning, and his nose, both of his hands and his legs beneath his knees turned black.
Within a week of being in the hospital, doctors first amputated Greg's feet and then his legs up to his kneecaps.
Then, three weeks after he was first admitted, both of Greg's hands up to his mid palms were amputated.
According to a GoFundMe page, doctors were hoping to save the remainder of his arms but, due to extensive damage to the tissue and muscles, both arms up to mid-forearm had to be amputated.
Doctors also told Dawn that Greg would need extensive plastic surgery to rebuild his nose.
After discovering the Manteufels have a pet dog, the medical staff told Dawn that her husband likely was infected after being licked.
'We can't wrap our heads around it that all of a sudden, he's 48 years old and been around dogs all of his life, and then this happens,' she said.
It is currently unclear where the dog is. Dailymail.com has reached out to the family for comment but has not received a reply.
Dr Silvia Munoz-Price, an infectious disease specialist with Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin, told WITI that Greg's immune system response to the infection resulted in his blood pressure dropping and decreased circulation in his limbs.
'More than 99 percent of the people that have dogs will never have this issue. It's just [a fluke],' said Dr Munoz-Price.
Dawn said that despite the multiple surgeries and long road of rehab ahead, her her husband feels lucky to be alive.
'[He] kept saying to the doctors: "Take what you need but keep me alive." And they did it. Surprisingly enough, they did do it,' she said.
A family friend has started a GoFundMe page to raise money to help cover his mountain medical bills. So far, more than $18,100 has been raised out of a $25,000 goal.
According to the page, Greg will be fitted for prosthetic limbs so he can function independently.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
© Associated Newspapers Ltd.