Table of Contents
- The 71-year-old Spaniard only entered the hospital after seven days of symptoms.
- He struggled to breathe and doctors discovered he was in septic shock.
A man narrowly escaped death after contracting pneumonia from his pet Chihuahua.
Doctors believe the 71-year-old man, originally from the Canary Islands, may have contracted a rare virus from being licked by his dog.
He spent three weeks in hospital and was given an oxygen mask to help him breathe.
The man, who was not identified, also developed sepsis, the body’s violent internal reaction to an infection that can be fatal.
Before seeking help, the man had also suffered days of diarrhea and a high fever.
Doctors believe the 71-year-old man, originally from the Canary Islands, may have contracted a rare bug from being licked by his pet Chihuahua. He spent three weeks in the hospital and was given an oxygen mask to help him breathe.
However, he did not seek help for a week, according to doctors at Hospital Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, La Gomera.
At this time, he was short of breath and coughing up yellow mucus.
The man, a former smoker who led an active lifestyle but had type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and lung disease, told doctors his dog had not scratched or bit him.
Doctors rushed him for a chest X-ray that showed a “dense opacity” in his right lung.
Opacity (gray, blurry areas on scans) can often indicate fluid in the air space, a thickening of the air space walls, thickening of lung tissue, or damage to blood vessels.
Doctors diagnosed him with pneumonia complicated by septic shock and urgently gave him an oxygen mask to help regulate his breathing along with antibiotics that were injected daily.
Follow-up blood tests revealed that he had contracted pasteurella multocida, a common bacteria found in the mouths of dogs.
Doctors said the insect “rarely causes pneumonia,” although it typically triggers soft tissue infections after bites and scratches from dogs and cats.
The man, however, told doctors that his dog had not scratched or bit him.
Although the team that treated him did not explicitly say that he contracted Pasteurella multocida by licking it, they suggested it.
Doctors warned that sharing a bed with a dog, kissing it and letting it lick you were “risky behaviors.”
The man recovered “well” six months after being discharged.
His story was published in the magazine. Respiratory Medicine Case Reports.
While anyone can get pneumonia, babies and the elderly are most at risk of being severely affected.
About a third of cases come from a virus, such as flu or Covid, that reaches the lungs.
However, most severe cases of pneumonia are caused by bacteria and are likely to severely affect people who suffer from other diseases and therefore have a weakened immune system.