An American woman has lost her arms and legs after contracting a rare disease when an open cut was licked by one of her pet dogs.
Marie Trainer complained of backache and nausea after returning home from a holiday at Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.
Initially, doctors in Canton, Ohio, believed she had been laid low by a tropical disease which she picked up in the Caribbean.
Mrs Trainer recalled feeling sick and lying down on a couch.
She was rushed to hospital as her temperature plummeted, but her condition worsened.
Ten days later she awoke from a coma, having had her arms and legs partially amputated.
“When I opened my eyes I didn’t know where I was,” she told Fox 8 news.
“It was very hard to find out that they had to remove my legs and my arms….very hard to cope with.”
Dr Margaret Kobe, the medical director of infectious disease at Aultman Hospital in Canton, Ohio, said Mrs Trainer was “delirious” when she went into intensive care.
Following tests, doctors diagnosed she had contracted a rare infection from the bacteria capnocytophaga canimorsus.
It spread from Mrs Trainer’s nose to her ears, face and legs, eventually prompting the need for emergency surgery.
Without amputation, Mrs Trainer would have died.
Doctors believe she was infected by one of her pet dogs.
“Fairly common in the oral flora or the mouth of a dog and it can be transmitted through a bite or sometimes just contact with saliva,” said Dr Kobe.
“That organism is very virulent. It has the ability to induce your immune system to do some pretty horrible things.”
According to Dr Kobe, the extreme reaction for a pet’s saliva is rare, affecting about one in a million people.
A similar case was reported last year in Wisconsin, where a man lost all four limbs after being licked by a dog.
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