It might be time to reconsider letting your pooch give you a smooch every morning after reports from Germany allege a man died because of it.
A healthy 63-year-old German man developed flu-like symptoms after he was licked by his dog, according to an October article from the European Journal of Case Reports in Internal Medicine. Doctors found he had been infected with capnocytophaga canimorsus, a bacterium found in the mouths of dogs and cats and most commonly transmitted to humans after a bite or licking an open wound.
The man took himself to a hospital after dealing with the symptoms for three days and it seemed like a regular bout of the flu. His condition deteriorated after a few more days and by day 16, he died of multiple organ failure.
It's not the first incident either. Back in August, CNN reported an Ohio woman had to have her hands and legs amputated after she contracted C. canimorsus from her dog's smooches.
Considering the banality of getting a cute lick from your doggo or kitty, it's a pretty scary thought that something so pure could lead to a human's death. The article outlines these sorts of severe cases of C. canimorsus are very rare and while fatality rates sit around 25 per cent, it suggests this could be abnormally high due to publication bias and reporting.
While suddenly putting a moratorium on animal kisses might be unfathomable for some dog lovers, it's important to understand the potential risks, no matter how rare. The article recommended that pet owners, cats included, urgently seek medical advice if they experience symptoms that exceed a simple viral infection and definitely tell doctors about the potential furry culprit in your household.
Feeling lonely? A dog may help. Our research confirms what many dog owners already know: dogs are great companions that can help you to feel less lonely. Cuddles and slobbery kisses, meeting other dog owners in the park and a general lift in mood all likely help.