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Wisconsin man may have his dog’s bacteria to blame for his rare loss of limbs; he says he still loves her ‘to death’

2019-09-29

Despite losing parts of his arms, legs and nose, Greg Manteufel is standing by his dog.

The West Bend, Wis., man has had life flipped upside down by a rare illness caused by the bacteria capnocytophaga — a germ that either came from his pit bull Ellie’s mouth or some other dog he may have encountered, according to the AP.

Manteufel’s severe reaction to the bacteria has robbed him of skin from his nose, and has forced doctors to amputate his arms below his elbows and his legs at knee-level.

At first, when he got sick in June, 2018, he thought he had the flu. When he visited the hospital, doctors told him they had found capnocytophaga, which led to sepsis — a severe infection that causes the body to attack itself.

Twenty surgeries would follow.

But he’s come a long way since he lost his limbs. Now, with claw-like arm prosthetics, he can use a fork, and he’s working on picking up the TV remote, opening doorknobs and washing dishes.

Plastic surgeons have provided him a prosthetic nose. And he’s planning to outfit his car so he can drive with prosthetics.

“Now everybody I see wants to hear something or talk to me," Manteufel told the AP. “I tell them a 15-minute story about what happened. They probably want me to leave, you know.”

Through it all, Ellie stays near his side.

And though Manteufel is taking part in genetic testing done by medical researchers in Boston looking into medical problems associated with capnocytophaga, he said he didn’t bother getting Ellie tested to confirm whether she was the source of all his health hardship.

"We weren’t going to get rid of her if it was her that caused it anyway,” Manteufel told the AP. “We just love her to death.”

He even said his dog has licked him and accidentally scratched him since he returned home. He’s been fine.

“I’ve been around dogs my whole life, having them lick at me in my face and hands and everywhere,” Manteufel told People magazine in 2018. “The doctors told me I could have probably hit the lottery five times that day before I should have got what I got that day from a dog.”

With News Wire Services