Milwaukee, WI — A West Bend man has lost both his legs and hands after being licked by a dog. Now, as he recovers, he’s getting help from a man across the country who got the same infection after contact with a dog.
The West Bend man Greg Manteufel contracted Capnocytophaga canimorsus, a bacteria found in dog saliva that can cause sepsis. Doctors had to amputate Manteufel’s hands and legs above the knee. The infection likely entered Manteufel’s body from the lick of a dog.
New York native Stanley Cole visited Manteufel in the hospital this weekend to bring him comfort. Cole lost both of his legs after he got a cut on his finger when playing with his dog.
“K-9 went across there and it was like a hangnail, just a little bit of the cuticle that stood up,” Cole said.
That was all it took for an infection to cause him to lose part of his legs years ago. He’s hoping his story of survival can help Manteufel.
“He was given a raw deal how else can you look at it? But the things that I’ve been through and the things I’ve made with it is incredible,” Cole said.
At the Silver Spring Animal Wellness Center, Dr. Pete Gaveras said they’ve been getting several calls in the last few days from concerned pet owners. He said there’s no need to panic.
“People do not need to get rid of their pets, absolutely not. This is very rare,” Gaveras said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, capnocytophaga rarely will be spread to humans through bites, scratches or close contact and cause illness. The CDC says most people who have contact with dogs will not become sick, but those with weakened immune systems who have difficulty fighting infection are at greater risk.
Many Capnocytophaga species are considered normal bacteria commonly found in the mouths of humans, dogs, and cats. In fact, up to 74 percent of dogs and up to 57 percent of cats have Capnocytophaga detected in their mouths.
The CDC says people with the following conditions are at a greater risk of Capnocytophaga infection:
Excessive alcohol use
Not having a spleen
Dr. Gaveras said pet owners shouldn’t worry, but should be aware.
“It’s avoiding circumstances you’re one of those patients who are at high risk, its good hygiene, washing your hands and cleaning up,” Gaveras said.
Manteufel remains in the hospital and still has multiple surgeries to go. A GoFundMe has been set up for the Manteufel’s. If you’d like to help, click here.
As for Cole, he hopes sharing his medical records and bringing comfort can help Manteufel.
“Why did I make it through this thing, what’s my purpose now? What do I do?” Cole said. “Maybe it’s what we just did.”