Sean Cate
Sean Cate
February 23, 2024 ·  3 min read

A Man Lost His Arms and Legs After a Dog Lick

A recent story out of Wisconsin has shed light on the dangers lurking in a seemingly innocent gesture: a dog lick. Greg Manteufel, a once healthy man, experienced a rapid and devastating decline after being infected with Capnocytophaga Canimorsus, a bacteria commonly found in the dog saliva. Strap in for the details of this tragic case, the potential risks associated with dog saliva, and the importance of understanding and recognizing the signs of infection.

An avid dog lover, Greg Manteufel’s problems began with what seemed to be flu symptoms but quickly escalated into a life-threatening condition. Dawn Manteufel, Greg’s wife, recounted the harrowing experience of watching her husband’s body covered in bruises, a noticeable indication of the severity of the infection.1 Doctors were quickly forced to amputate Greg’s legs and hands in a desperate bid to save his life.

Photo from Florida Times

Capnocytophaga Canimorsus and Dog Saliva

Capnocytophaga canimorsus is a bacteria commonly found in dog and cat saliva, and is usually harmless to humans. However, in rare cases, it can lead to severe infections like the one experienced by Greg Manteufel. This bacteria can cause sepsis, a life-threatening response to infection that can result in organ failure and even death.

Unfortunately, Greg’s infection quickly progressed to sepsis, which is when the body’s response to infection becomes harmful to the host. Sepsis can lead to widespread inflammation, blood clotting, and impaired blood flow, ultimately causing organ damage and eventual failure. In Greg’s case, the infection led to a drastic drop in blood pressure, resulting in tissue death in his limbs.2 This took the form of extensive bruising all over his body and some of his face as the blood swelled in areas trying to salvage and put out the many fires below the surface. However, Greg did lose both of his legs and hands while his body fought for its life. 

Greg’s road to recovery is long but the worst of it seems to be over. He has faced multiple surgeries and has a few more to go yet, including reconstruction of his nose and the fitting of prosthetic limbs. Despite the challenges ahead, Greg remains remarkably positive, focusing on moving forward and rebuilding his life.

Cases like Greg’s are rare but do serve as a reminder of the potential dangers associated with interactions with dogs. While most people will never experience such severe consequences, it’s essential to recognize the signs of infection and seek medical attention when necessary.3 If you think you or anyone else may be experiencing any early symptoms of sepsis, seek medical attention. Better to be wary and incorrect than to say nothing and lose limbs or your life. 

Prevention and Awareness

Understanding the risks associated with dog saliva is crucial, particularly for vulnerable populations such as the elderly and the immunocompromised.4 Practicing good hygiene, keeping a lookout for bites or scratches, and being aware of the signs of infection can help prevent serious complications.

Greg Manteufel’s story highlights the devastating consequences that can result from a seemingly harmless encounter with a dog. While such cases are rare, they still highlight the importance of awareness, prevention, and prompt medical treatment in mitigating risks associated with dog saliva.

While dog ownership does offer numerous benefits, it’s essential to recognize and properly handle the risks, particularly for those who may have compromised immune systems. By understanding the dangers posed by bacteria like Capnocytophaga canimorsus and taking appropriate precautions, we can ensure safer interactions with our furry friends and anything a dog’s saliva can throw at us.


  1. A man’s legs and hands were amputated after a dog lick gave him a serious illness — here’s what to know about it.” Business Insider. Caroline Praderio. August 2, 2018
  2. The shocking reason that this man’s legs and hands were amputated: A dog’s saliva.” Jacksonville. Kristine Phillips. August 1, 2018.
  3. How deadly is your dog’s saliva?The Conversation. Amy Rene. July 13, 2016.
  4. Capnocytophaga.” CDC