A Woman Lost Her Hands and Legs to Infection From Puppy Love
Only a few days after returning home from a fabulous Punta Cana vacation, Marie Trainer called in sick to work with a backache and nausea. Soon after her temperature spiked and dropped, sending her to an Ohio emergency room on May 11th. Nine days later she woke to find that her hands and legs had been amputated.
Doctors worked find the cause of the infection suspecting it was from a "tropical" travel disease she has picked up while on vacation, but soon learned it wasn't from the trip yet from her fur baby that welcomed her home. Trainer contracted a rare infection from the bacteria capnocytophaga canimorsus, probably when her German shepherd puppy, Taylor, licked an open cut.
The infection had spread to the tip of her nose, ears, legs and face. “She didn’t lose parts of her face. But her extremities is what she had to have surgery on,” said Dr. Margaret Kobe who treated Trainer. The family sought a second opinion, hoping to save Trainer’s limbs. But doctors said the damage had already been done.
Most people in contact with dogs and cats don’t get sick, and it’s rare for Capnocytophaga to cause illness in humans according to the CDC. Trainer says she knows her German shepherd puppy licked a slightly infected scratch. Those who become ill may show symptoms within three to five days, although some may show signs earlier or later, the CDC says. In rare cases, patients can develop sepsis. About 3 in 10 people who develop a severe infection die, CDC statistics show. The people at greatest risk are those with weakened immune systems, such as cancer patients and people who have had their spleens removed.
Trainer has had eight surgeries so far, and is being moved soon from the hospital to the rehab center to begin learning a new normal for her life. As for her love of her four legged fur babies, Marie and her husband have 2 dogs and she says she has no intention of getting rid of them. As a matter of fact, she asked doctors if she could see her dogs again during her healing process, and the pups have come to the hospital twice to visit.