An infection from a dog lick cost a man his limbs

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Greg Manteufel lost his limbs after a dog lick lead to a rare blood infection. (WITI via CNN) Greg Manteufel lost his limbs after a dog lick lead to a rare blood infection. (WITI via CNN)
WEST BEND, Wis. (WITI/CNN) -

A Wisconsin man lost his limbs from something that seems so common, it's shocking.

An infection spread all over his body, likely caused by bacteria – which a doctor said came from being licked by a dog.

Just one month ago, Greg Manteufel was a long way from a hospital bed. His wife, Dawn Manteufel, said he was perfectly healthy.

But what they initially thought was the flu landed him in the emergency room.

"It hit him with a vengeance. It's just bruising all over him, like someone beat him up with a baseball bat," Dawn Manteufel said.

She said life as they knew it changed forever after blood tests revealed an infection caused by the bacteria Capnocytophaga.

"It took a week and they were taking his legs," she said.

The infection very likely entered Manteufel's system by a lick from a dog, probably his own.

"This type of bacteria comes from the saliva of dogs," said Dr. Silvia Munoz-Price, an infectious disease specialist with Froedtert & MCW. "This infection in his blood triggered a very severe response in his body."

That response caused Manteufel's blood pressure to drop, and the circulation in his limbs to decrease rapidly.

"Sometimes it decreases so much that the arms and legs just die," Munoz-Price said.

That's exactly what happened in Manteufel's case, and doctors were eventually forced to amputate his legs.

Doctors were also forced to amputate his hands, The Washington Post reported.

"We can't wrap our heads around it that all of the sudden, he's 48 years old and been around dogs all of his life and this happens," Dawn Manteufel said.

Still, the Manteufels are trying to focus on what wasn't taken away.

"He kept just saying, 'Take what you need, but keep me alive.' And they did it – surprisingly enough, they did do it," Dawn Manteufel said.

Munoz-Price said the case is simply a fluke.

"More than 99 percent of the people that have dogs will never have this issue. It's just chance," Munoz-Price said.

The family has raised more than $20,000 to help out with Manteufel's recovery.

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