You were bitten by a dog. The injury doesn’t look too severe and the dog has had all its shots, so you decide to wash off the bite and not worry. A few days later, you feel terrible. You’re nauseous, you have a headache, and every muscle hurts. You go to the doctor and he diagnoses you with Capnocytophaga infection.

You think Caopnowhat?

Meet Capnocytophaga. It’s Worse Than Rabies.

You may have heard that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than your own. Don’t be fooled. There are more than 600 species of bacteria living in the mouth of a healthy dog. Capnocytophaga canimorsus is one of these bacteria.

A Canadian mother of four recently learned exactly how dangerous Capnocytophaga canimorsus can be. Christine Caron was playing with her Shih Tzu when the dog nipped her hand. Her other dogs saw the injury and licked the wound.

After a few days, Ms. Caron began to feel light-headed. She tried going to a nearby clinic for a tetanus shot, but it was closed. She went to bed and vomited throughout the night. That’s the last thing she remembered for quite a while.

More than a month later, Ms. Caron was brought out of an induced coma. She was in the hospital. All four of her limbs had been amputated. She had developed septicemia after being infected with Capnocytophaga.

Capnocytophaga infections are very rare and very dangerous. They are almost always caused by dog bites, but in many cases, the dog bites are very small and don’t appear to be serious.

Many people are able to fight off Capnocytophaga. But, when a person has a weakened immune system the infection can cause septicemia, or blood poisoning. The infection can also cause meningitis, endocarditis (a heart valve infection), and eye infections. The elderly, children, and those with weakened immune systems are especially at risk. Ms. Caron didn’t know it, but she had a mild case of pneumonia at the tie that she was bitten.

Early symptoms of Capnocytophaga include nausea, vomiting, light-headedness, headache, muscle aches, and tiny red patches on the skin.

The best way to prevent Capnocytophaga is to see a doctor immediately after any dog bite, even if the bite seems minor. This is especially important if you have diabetes or another condition that affects your ability to fight infection. Capnocytophaga can be treated with antibiotics when it is caught early. But if treatment is delayed, there may be too much damage to the body. About one-third of those who develop the Capnocytophaga infection die from the disease.

If you have suffered from Capnocytophaga or another infection after a dog bites you, you have a right to hold the owner accountable for your injuries. To learn more about Iowa dog bite compensation, please contact the experieenced attorneys at Hupy and Abraham at 888-807-2752.

Jason F. Abraham
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Helping car accident and personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa since 1993.