70-year-old woman receives life-threatening infection from her dog

The woman in England was treated for a rare cause of sepsis

Sepsis, England, dog, bacteria, infection, BMJ Case Reports, life-threatening infection

An Italian Greyhound | Image: Amy Sancetta / AP/Press Association Images

A woman has been treated for a potentially life-threatening infection she caught from her dog.

The 70-year-old from England received treatment for Capnocytophaga canimorsus.

This is a rare, but significant, cause of sepsis - usually following a dog bite.

However in this case, there was no evidence of a bite or scratch mark described or identified.

The incident, is outlined the the BMJ Case Reports. It says the source of the bacteria was "very likely" to be the woman's household pet - an Italian greyhound.

The alarm was raised when the woman became unresponsive while on the phone to a relative.

Paramedics found her slumped in a chair, barely conscious.

"The patient presented with a presumed complex partial seizure but deteriorated rapidly with sepsis and multi-organ dysfunction."

"Neither scratch nor bite was established, although close petting including licks was reported."

Her medical history included asthma and epilepsy, which was being controlled with medication.

On her admission to hospital, she developed new onset confusion, headaches and diarrhoea.

Blood tests on the woman revealed some bacteria which is usually only found in the oral cavities of dogs and cats.

When questioned, the woman said she could not remember any ongoing symptoms, but had a moderate headache the previous night and felt tired.

But a full recovery was made following two weeks of intensive care support and antibiotics.