A man was left fighting for his life after he caught a deadly infection from his pet dog licking him. David Money, 51, from Manchester, spent six weeks in a coma with red tennis-ball-sized blisters covering his body after he caught the bug.
Doctors fought to keep him alive for five months after bacteria lurking in the dog's mouth entered an open wound. The infection destroyed both of Money's kidneys – leaving him requiring dialysis every day – but the HGV driver and former soldier somehow survived.
And despite his scrape with death, Money, who has seven whippets, maintained his love of dogs.
He said: "I'm disabled, I can barely walk, I've lost my job and I nearly died," reported SWNS.
"My life has been completely turned upside down and to think it's from a bacteria from a dog is a mind-blowing thing. The pain I went through was indescribable. To actually sweat with pain is absolutely horrendous.
"We are far more aware of the dogs now but I would never get rid of my dogs. I can't believe what has happened to me, but I cherish them."
Money first started experiencing symptoms in April and was about to go to sleep when he felt extreme pain in his legs. His partner, Julie Crosby, 44, took him to hospital where medics diagnosed the infection as capnocytophaga – a rare bug found in the mouth and saliva of dogs.
Hours after being admitted, Crosby was told Money's chances of survival would be best if he was put into a coma. She was told to say her "final goodbyes" in case he did not survive.
"It was so shocking how quickly things happened," Crosby said. "They didn't think he was going to make it through the night. He told me he loved me and I said the same and we said our goodbyes. He was gasping for breath and had this face mask on. It was devastating."
Six weeks after being in the coma, doctors stabilised the infection, but not before Money lost a toe and two kidneys. He was released from hospital in September and has applied to go on the transplant list next year. Crosby is planning to volunteer as an organ donor to see if she is a suitable match.
Why do dogs lick wounds?
Wound-licking is an instinctive response in dogs – as well as many animals including cats – to attempt healing.
Their saliva contains enzymes and proteins which kill certain bacteria and promote blood-clotting mechanisms. However, letting your pets lick your wounds is not advisable as there are just as many, if not more, harmful side-effects that can result.