Woman loses both hands and legs due to dog saliva

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Woman loses both hands and legs due to dog saliva

Marie Trainer had just returned from vacation with her husband when she suddenly suffered from mild cold symptoms and back pain. When the pain eats its hands and feet and a high fever comes along, Matthew Trainer decides to drive his wife to the hospital. Only one day later, Maria Trainer stopped breathing, her organs fail. The doctors put her in an artificial coma. A shock for everyone involved!

Despite aggressive therapy, Marie Trainer’s condition worsened. The tissue on her limbs dies, the mysterious infection continues to rage in her body. Three days after her admission, the doctors, in consultation with the relatives, made a difficult decision: In order to save Marie Trainer’s life, all of the limbs affected by the sepsis – both hands and both legs – had to be amputated. Another seven days pass before Marie Trainer wakes up from her coma.

In the meantime, the cause of the infection has been identified through blood tests: Maria Trainer’s body reacted to the bacterium Capnocytophaga canimorsus, which is normally found in the saliva of dogs and cats and is not harmful to the animals themselves. However, if the bacterium gets into the human bloodstream through small wounds, there is a risk of gangrene, meningitis or blood poisoning.

Capnocytophaga canimorsus is still largely unexplored. Its specialty: It is not recognized by the human immune system and can multiply in the body unchecked – with fatal consequences. Doctors warn of the unpredictability of the bacterium: people can be exposed to C. canimorsus for years without the body reacting to it.

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Marie Trainer is not an isolated case. In 2013, Canadian Christine Caron lost three limbs to a C. canimorsus infection after her Shih Tzu “Buster” pinched her playfully. Another case occurred in 2018: Greg Manteufel from Wisconsin lost parts of his hands, feet and nose after his eight-year-old pit bull infected him with C. canimorsus unnoticed.

Marie Trainer also has to find her way back to life. Her husband supports her in this. Her two dogs are also a great support to her: Handing them over was never an option for Marie Trainer. Even after 80 days in hospital and a total of eight operations, she loves her dogs more than anything – and is already looking forward to seeing them again.