Some people love their pets to the extent they allow these pets to kiss them. Well, not a bad idea to give your pet maximum love as if it were human. But you need to understand that there’s a limit to how far you can go with dogs and cats. These pets carry deadly bacteria which could destroy the owner if not well managed. The dog or cat doesn’t have to bite you to deposit the dangerous strain of bacteria. A simple kiss or licking of an open wound could do the deadly job. Read this interesting piece below by Erika Engelhaupt National Geographic to discover how dangerous dog and cat kisses could be.
How Dog and Cat ‘Kisses’ Can Turn Deadly
When Julie McKenna arrived at the hospital in Mildura, Australia, in 2007, she could barely speak. Her arms and legs were cold and mottled, and her face was turning purple.
Doctors quickly determined that Julie was in septic shock—bacteria in her bloodstream were attacking her from within. Even after starting on antibiotics, the purple kept spreading, and her organs began to fail. Eventually, parts of her arms and legs began turning black.
She had been hospitalized for more than two weeks before doctors were able to identify the bacteria in her blood. It was Capnocytophaga canimorsus, a bug commonly found in the saliva of healthy dogs and cats.
Only then did Julie remember that she had scalded the top of her left foot in hot water a few weeks before she got sick. It wasn’t a bad burn, and she hadn’t thought much of it when her fox terrier puppy licked the wound.
Like Julie, most of us don’t really know what’s swimming around in our pets’ saliva, or how dangerous it might be. Our skin and immune systems normally stand between us and our pets’ germs—but those systems can be breached.
About 10 to 15 percent of dog bites become infected, as do up to half of cat bites. Sometimes the consequences are deadly: In one study, 26 percent of people with confirmed C. canimorsus infections died. (Find out whether your dog would eat you if you died.)
Now, scientists have begun to describe all the bacterial species living in dogs’ and cats’ mouths and compare them to our own, and their work is revealing a host of potential pathogens lurking in each slobbery kiss or scratchy lick.
In a puppy’s mouth, C. canimorsus is no big deal. At least a quarter of all dogs and many cats carry them. Humans normally don’t, and once the bacteria got in Julie’s bloodstream, her body struggled to fight off infection.
Antibiotics eventually turned the tide, but doctors had to amputate her left leg below the knee, part of her right foot, and every one of her fingers and toes. “It’s changed my life in every aspect,” she later told ABC News in Australia.
For Complete article, see: National Geographic