(Picture for representation) A German Shepard was seen trying to help his friend to climb a wall.Pixabay

A 63-year-old man in Germany has died due to a rare bacterial infection after he was licked by his dog. The shocking incident has prompted doctors to ask pet owners to be very careful if they develop unusual symptoms.

After being licked by his pet dog, the man initially developed flu-like symptoms that include elevated temperature and breathing difficulties. In another three days, the patient was admitted at the Red Cross Hospital in Bremen as his conditions worsened after rashes appearing on his face.

Dog lick that killed a man

The man was suffering from severe nerve and muscle pain in legs. Upon later analysis, it was revealed that there was subcutaneous bleeding. Apart from these symptoms, the victim also had hypoxia, along with kidney and liver dysfunctioning. As the patient did not have neck stiffness and headache, doctors ruled out the possibility of meningitis.

Even though doctors tried to treat the man with an antibiotic cocktail targeted at Streptococci, Neisseria meningitides, Haemophilus influenza and Staphylococcus aureus, his condition did not improve.


On the fourth day, experts recognized that the real reason behind the symptoms is called Capnocytophaga canimorsus. It should be noted that this bacteria is not a rare microbe and is very common among pets like dogs and cats. However, these bacteria used to get transmitted to humans very rarely.

It usually reaches human bodies through dog bites and in usual cases, immunodeficient people and alcoholics used to get infected by this bacteria. Even though the dog had not bitten the German man, a small lick was enough this time to trigger infection.

Pet owners should take proper care

Researchers, in their study, have warned pet owners to be very careful and asked them to seek immediate medical attention if unusual symptoms arise.

"Physicians confronted with such patients should ask about contact with dogs and cats. They should consider C. canimorsus infections also in the presence of purpura fulminans and the absence of animal bites or scratches, and any immunodeficiency. In such cases, the clinician should immediately start empiric treatment with a penicillin in combination with a beta-lactam inhibitor until a definite diagnosis is established," wrote researchers.