Woman In Coma Has Arms Amputated After Getting Infection From Her Dog Licking Her

Emergency room sign at a hospital
paulbr75 / Pixabay (GPL)

A woman in Ohio was hospitalized for nearly 3 months and placed into a medically-induced coma after becoming seriously ill from a bacteria in her dog’s saliva. While comatose, her medical team was forced to amputate parts of her limbs after they turned necrotic.

Marie Trainer was having a day like any other after returning from a vacation in the Caribbean when she started feeling unwell and decided to lay down on her sofa. Ten days later, she woke up in the hospital with both arms and legs partially amputated, according to Fox 59.

“When I opened my eyes, I didn’t know where I was. It was very hard to find out that they had to remove my legs and my arms… very hard to cope with.”

At first, she and her husband thought the woman had the flu because she felt sick and had a fever and a backache. Shortly after her temperature plummeted to 93 degrees, they decided to take her to the hospital where she was immediately treated. Within hours of being admitted, things got much worse. Trainer developed sepsis and rapidly declined.

“So we were getting new symptoms and worsening symptoms very rapidly,” said Trainer’s stepdaughter Gina Premier.

Within days, Trainer was put into a coma and her limbs began to turn necrotic, eventually developing gangrene. At first, doctors tried to remove dozens of blood clots caused by the bacteria to try and save her limbs, but there was too much damage done. At that point, the doctors decided to remove part of Trainer’s limbs in order to save her life.

“It was so rapid in progression… there was nothing they could do,” said Premier.

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Trainer’s infection was caused by capnocytophaga, a bacteria commonly found in dogs’ saliva. The bacteria causes blood to clot and restrict blood flow in the body. Dr. Margaret Kobe, the Medical Director of Infectious Disease at Aultman Hospital, says that it can be transmitted through something as simple as a lick from a dog.

“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. That organism is very virulent. It has the ability to induce your immune system to do some pretty horrible things.”

While an infection of this type is extremely serious, it is also incredibly rare. Only one in a million people will have such a severe reaction while many are exposed to the bacteria for years without having any reaction.