Blood tests showed the presence of an infection from Capnocytophaga canimorsus bacteria. Although rare, this bacterium is found in the mouths of cats and dogs. However, the woman showed no bite or scratch marks, leading the doctors to believe the transmission was through a lick from her Italian greyhound.
Although it is worth noting the lady was in her seventies, she had no underlying immune dysfunction. She had to spend two weeks in intensive care, until her infection was cleared through a treatment of antibiotics.
"There have only been about 13 cases reported in the entire United Kingdom, and I'm guessing on a similar scale in the U.S.," said Shelley Rankin, associate professor of microbiology at Penn Vet, to CBS News. "In support of all things furry, this is a normal flora in the mouth of dogs."
Dr. Bruce Farber, chief of infectious diseases at North Shore University Hospital, added: "The last thing you want to do is alarm people that they'll be infected if they get licked or kissed by a dog."
So, while it’s worth considering that there can be some nasty things lurking in your dog's mouth, pooch-smooches are hardly always a death sentence.
Give us a kiss. Image credit: Eric E Castro/Flickr. (CC BY 2.0)