Marie Trainer, from Ohio, contracted sepsis after her dog showed her a bit of affection and accidentally infected her with a rare bacteria. She was then hospitalised for nearly 80 days and the infection was so severe that she had her limbs amputated and nearly died.
Trainer told local TV station Fox 8 Cleveland she remembers feeling a bit sick and going to lie down on the couch. She then awoke 10 days later after the emergency amputations had been performed.
Marie had to have both arms and both legs partially amputated. Credit: Fox 8 Cleveland
She explained: “When I opened my eyes I didn’t know where I was.
“It was very hard to find out that they had to remove my legs and my arms. Very hard to cope with.”
It is thought that she contracted the infection from capnocytophaga bacteria in her dog’s saliva.
Marie and her husband Matthew had just returned from a Caribbean holiday and she assumed that she’d just picked up the flu. She was suffering from nausea and back ache, but then her temperature went through the roof before quickly plummeting.
She received extensive treatment at Aultman Hospital, but the sepsis had taken hold and her condition was rapidly worsening.
Gina Premier, Marie’s step-daughter and a nurse practitioner at the hospital said: “So we were getting new symptoms and worsening symptoms very rapidly.”
Marie initially thought she had just caught the flu. Credit: Fox 8 Cleveland
After a few days she was placed in a medical coma and her legs developed gangrene and became necrotic.
Capnocytophaga is found in the saliva of many dogs and some cats. Dr Margaret Kobe, Medical Director of Infectious Disease at the Aultman Hospital, said that it is ‘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’.
She continued: “That organism is very virulent. It has the ability to induce your immune system to do some pretty horrible things.”
The bacteria is common in many dogs and some cats. Credit: Fox 8 Cleveland
Marie and her family have two dogs, and they think that one of them could have licked a small wound on her arm. The bacteria causes blood clots that reduce blood flow, which is what eventually led to the amputations, without which she would have died.
Premier continued: “It was so rapid in progression, there was nothing they could do.”
Dr Kobe was quick to point out that this type of reaction is very rare and affects roughly one out of every million people.