Greg Manteufel suffered a rare blood infection after harmful bacteria from a dog's saliva seeped into his bloodstream, causing sepsis, or blood poisoning from bacteria. And the most likely source of the devastating infection was his own dog.
Greg Manteufel of West Bend lost both legs and both hands last month.
Dawn Manteufel said doctors told them her husband's case is not common but more like a "crazy fluke". The disease had made it look as if someone had beat him up with a baseball bat, which had shocked both of them.
Doctors ran blood tests and discovered he'd become infected with a bacterial pathogen known as capnocytophaga canimorsus, which is found in the saliva of healthy dogs and cats but can lead to infection in humans who are immunocompromised.
In very rare cases, a person can get infected without being bitten.
She told of how it had caused Manteufel's blood pressure to drop dramatically, causing plunging blood circulation to his legs.
"There's no choice. We have no choice but to be positive and make the best of it", said Dawn Manteufel.
Manteufel's family has already raised over $18,000 through a GoFundMe page focused on taking care of the West Bend man's upcoming plastic surgeries.
Manteufel contracted Capnocytophaga canimorsus, but there are other species of the bacteria that cause lesser side effects compared to what he had to go through. Within days of being admitted to the hospital while still fighting for his life, Greg first lost both feet, after a second surgery to remove more damage on legs, they amputated thru both kneecaps.
Several types of Capnocytophaga bacteria, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "live in the mouths of dogs and cats". "This infection in his blood triggered a very severe response on his body", Dr. Silvia Munoz-Price, infectious disease specialist with Froedtert and the Medical College of Wisconsin told Fox 6 Now.
Dr Munoz-Price continued: "Sometimes it [blood pressure] decreases so much that the arms and legs just die". While the infection had been seen before in people who'd been bitten by dogs, the doctors noted it was highly unusual that this woman apparently contracted it from her dog who had licked her.