Daily BulletinHoliday Centre

The Conversation

  • Written by Marta Skrabacz, Editor, The Conversation

It’s common knowledge a dog bite might warrant a trip to the doctor, but could a friendly puppy lick be dangerous too?

It’s possible – but rare – for close contact with the family pooch to transmit bacteria that can cause dangerous blood poisoning, according to a new case study published in the British Medical Journal’s BMJ Case Reports.

The case report – meaning a detailed description of a striking diagnosis in an individual patient – detailed the unusual story of a 70-year-old Caucasian woman who developed slurred speech and became unresponsive while on the phone to a relative.

Paramedics discovered the woman slumped in a chair in the home she shared with her Italian greyhound. She was diagnosed with severe sepsis, or blood poisoning. Doctors eventually determined she had been infected with Capnocytophaga canimorsus a germ commonly found in the saliva of cats and dogs.

“Neither scratch nor bite was established, although close petting including licks was reported,” the authors wrote. “A full recovery was made following two weeks of intensive care support and broadspectrum antibiotics.”

The paper said that the lesson for doctors was that infection “may occur in the absence of obvious bites or scratches and should always be considered in cases of severe sepsis in pet-owning elderly patients.”

Lead author of the paper, Dr James P Wilson from the Department of Medicine for the Elderly, University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, told The Conversation that the case detailed “was a very rare event”.

“There have been 13 cases of sepsis involving Capnocytophaga canimorsus since 1990 in the UK; equating to an incidence (at least in the UK) of approximately one case per 150 million people per year. You are about 150 times more likely to be struck by lightning! And, of those 13 cases only a handful were associated with licks,” he said.

“Crucially, the message is not to scare people away from being close to their dogs. The message is more directed at hospital doctors to think about animal transmitted infections generally, when a patient – particularly with immune dysfunction – presents with sepsis.”

Wilson said more caution should be taken with very young children, particularly in the first months when the immune system is still developing. Care should also be taken with immunosuppression, such as people with no spleen, those with liver and alcohol problems or people undergoing chemotherapy.

Dr Vincent Ho, a clinical academic gastroenterologist from Western Sydney University, who was not involved in the findings, said the case highlights a quite uncommon but interesting reaction.

“I would stress that such reactions are very, very rare, and shouldn’t prevent us from having close contact with pets,” he said.

“This case study is saying that this is an elderly person with fairly normal immune system, who developed a very severe reaction to this bacteria. So the elderly, along with the immune suppressed, are important groups to consider. If they’re very unwell, they should keep their distance from their pets.”

Authors: Marta Skrabacz, Editor, The Conversation

Read more http://theconversation.com/in-rare-cases-a-dogs-lick-can-carry-more-than-just-love-61984


The Conversation


Closing the Gap Statement to Parliament

Mr Speaker, when we meet in this place, we are on Ngunnawal country. I give my thanks and pay my respects to our Ngunnawal elders, past, present and importantly emerging for our future. I honour...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Interview with Alan Jones

ALAN JONES: Prime Minister, good morning.    PRIME MINISTER: Good morning, Alan.    JONES: I was just thinking last night when we're going to talk to you today, you must feel as though you've ...

News Company - avatar News Company

Prime Minister Bridget McKenzie press conference

PRIME MINISTER: Good afternoon everybody. The good news is that the Qantas flight is on its way to Wuhan and I want to thank everybody for their cooperation, particularly the Chinese Government as...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Business News

Choosing the Right Coworking Space For Your Business

As the capital of Victoria in Australia, Melbourne is inhabited by millions of people and is known as one of the most liveable cities in the world. The latter is due to the city’s diverse community...

Sarah Williams - avatar Sarah Williams

What Should You Expect from A Carpentry Apprenticeship?

Those wanting to pursue a career in woodwork, whether it be to make furniture, construct buildings or repair existing wooden structures, will have to first commence a carpentry apprenticeship. This ...

News Company - avatar News Company

4 Tips To Choosing A Reliable SEO Company For Your Digital Marketing Agency

Working with a digital marketing agency Perth is the best bet in ensuring that your business is promoted well in the online space. If you are an app developer Perth, you may have to work closely wit...

News Company - avatar News Company


How to Be a Smart Frugal Traveller

You are looking through Instagram, watching story after story of your followers overseas at a beach in Santorini, walking through the piazza in Italy, and eating a baguette in front of the Eiffel ...

News Company - avatar News Company


Graduation is the stage of life when a student receives the rewards of hard work of years. It must have taken sleepless nights and tiring days to achieve the task. Now, as you have received your cov...

News Company - avatar News Company

A Travel Guide for Vacations Overseas

There are two types of tourists. Of course, that's a sweeping generalization, and we could be talking about any possible part of traveling.  In this case, we're discussing those who stick to the ma...

News Company - avatar News Company