As every dog lover knows, you’re going to get the odd lick across the face from your furry friend. Of course, there are actually those who enjoy a slobbery show of affection from their dog. According to medical professionals and virologists, this might not be the best idea; we don’t want to be a party pooper, although there is probably some of that in their mouth too.
As John Oxford, emeritus professor of virology and bacteriology at Queen Mary University in London, recently explained to The Hippocratic Post: “It is not just what is carried in saliva. Dogs spend half of their life with their noses in nasty corners or hovering over dog droppings so their muzzles are full of bacteria, viruses and germs of all sorts.”
But can this cause any problems?
A woman from the United Kingdom found out the hard way. After contracting an infection from her Italian greyhound’s saliva, she ended up in intensive care for weeks with multiple organ failure.
The story of her so-called “lick of death” was told in a recent BMJ Case Report. It began when she reported having slurred speech while she was on the phone with a relative, which prompted her to call an ambulance. By the time paramedics got there, she was found slumped in her armchair losing consciousness. She reached the hospital, where she regained consciousness and her condition improved. She reported no other symptoms, apart from a bad headache the night before.
After four days, however, her condition slipped again and she began suffering from confusion, headaches, diarrhea, a high fever, and her kidneys began to fail. She went on to suffer from reduced liver function and respiratory failure. She was moved to intensive care when it became clear she was suffering from severe sepsis, commonly known as blood poisoning.