One woman ended up in a coma after a lick from one of her two pet dogs caused a massive infection. Marie Trainer began feeling nauseated, and her temperature began shifting erratically. After arriving at the hospital, her condition worsened. Once sepsis set in, she started developing gangrene, so the hospital induced a coma.
Trainer, according to a report by Fox News, was in a coma for 10 days. When she woke up, she discovered that parts of her arms and legs had been amputated.
“When I opened my eyes, I didn’t know where I was,” said Trainer, an Ohio business owner. “It was very hard to find out that they had to remove my legs and my arms…very hard to cope with.”
According to the report, the amputations very well may have saved her life.
Tests determined that capnocytophaga – a germ that can be found in cats and dogs that can be contagious when a human has close contact with them – was the cause of the infection. Usually, exposure does not come with the kinds of health consequences that Trainer had to face.
Doctors think that capnocytophaga may have been able to enter Trainer’s body through a small scrape on one of her arms.
“[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,” said Dr. Margaret Kobe, the medical director of infectious disease at the hospital that treated Trainer.
“That organism is very virulent,” Kobe continued. “It has the ability to induce your immune system to do some pretty horrible things.”
Kobe added that Trainer’s reaction is incredibly rare, occurring in only about one in a million people.
Kobe also said that she and Trainer don’t want people to fear their pets. However, they do want them to be aware of the possibility that germs from animals can cause infections as well as of the symptoms that signal trouble.
“If you get bit by a dog you definitely need to go on antibiotics and to wash your hands when playing with a dog, especially with an open cut,” said Kobe.
So far, Trainer has been in the hospital for more than 80 days. She has endured eight surgeries as well.
Trainer has been thankful for her husband throughout the ordeal, saying that he has been a source of inspiration and support during her recovery.
“He’s here every day for me… every day he feeds me and dresses me here every day,” said Trainer. “I mean, what do you do? I had to learn how to sit up, roll over, it’s been just very hard.”
Trainer’s family also said they have no intention of getting rid of their dogs.