Many of us don’t think twice about the saliva that comes out of our dog’s mouth when we lean in for a slobbery kiss. Affection between humans and their pets is not uncommon. However, what is common is the lack of education surrounding animal saliva, its bacteria, and how it impacts both humans and pets. Here are five fast facts about dog saliva that can change the way you think about your pet and its mouth.
This is the story last year when a 48-year-old who paints houses for a living and loves to ride his Harley-Davidson motorcycle lost his legs. And then his hands.
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. The sepsis resulted in blood spots that looked like bruises all over his body, particularly on his chest and face.
And now in a calamitous turn of events, a little lick from his dog proved fatal for a 63-year-old man, who died after catching a rare infection from his pet’s saliva. According to news reports, the pet owner was admitted to the hospital after he complained of flu-like symptoms including high fever and muscle aches for three days.
The case study is mentioned in the European Journal of Case Reports in Internal Medicine. The man’s condition got significantly worse as he started facing difficulty in breathing and developed painful blisters on his face, excruciating pain and unexplained bruises on his legs. Furthermore, he was diagnosed with severe sepsis as his organs began to fail and he suffered from brain damage.
Ultimately, his skin started to rot away and his liver started shutting down, leading to a cardiac arrest. The cause behind this deadly infection was Capnocytophaga canimorsus, a type of bacteria that can be found in the animal saliva. This fatal bacteria can be spread through bites, scratches or even licks of household cats and dogs.
While most people who come in contact with the Capnocytophaga, bacteria do not fall ill, one can never be too careful. It is also fatal in around 28 to 31 percent of cases
What you need to know
If you feel feverish or develop flu-like symptoms and have a pet at home, pay close attention to whether the symptoms are getting more complicated. The team, led by Dr. Naomi Mader, wrote: ‘Pet owners with flu-like symptoms should urgently seek medical advice when their symptoms exceed those of a simple viral infection, which in this case were (breathing problems and rash).
Should you let your dog lick you
Pet owners–especially dog-lovers–often treat their furry family members like their own babies. From talking, hugging to even kissing them, most people love to pamper their four-legged friends.
However, before you let your dog lick you in affection, it is important to understand that there are more than 700 different types of bacteria in a dog’s mouth. Although it is highly unlikely, your dog’s disease-carrying saliva can also cause a fatal infection. The risk factor goes up for pregnant women, elderlies, babies and those with a weak immune system.
It is especially important that you steer clear of your pooch’s saliva if you have a wound or a broken skin, as it can be easily absorbed through the open sores.
Aside from using dog toothbrushes and dog toothpaste, Experts recommend annual dental care for dogs. A puppy should have his first exam at eight weeks of age. Dogs that have periodontal disease may need to visit their vet more frequently to monitor the progress of the condition.