- The 71-year-old from Spain only attended hospital after seven days of symptoms
- He was left struggling to breathe and medics discovered he was in septic shock
A man narrowly escaped death after catching pneumonia from his pet Chihuahua.
Doctors believe the 71-year-old, from the Canary Islands, may have caught a rare bug from being licked by his dog.
He spent three weeks in hospital and was given an oxygen mask to help him breathe.
The man, who wasn’t identified, also developed sepsis — the body’s violent internal reaction to an infection that can prove deadly.
Before seeking help, the man had also suffered days of diarrhoea and a high fever.
Doctors believe the 71-year-old, from the Canary Islands, may have caught a rare bug from being licked by his pet Chihuahua. He spent three weeks in hospital and was given an oxygen mask to help him breathe
Yet he didn’t seek help for a week, according to doctors at Hospital Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, La Gomera.
By this point, he was short of breath and coughing up yellow mucus.
The man, a former smoker who led an active lifestyle but had type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and a lung disease, told doctors he hadn’t been scratched or bitten by his dog.
Medics rushed him for a chest x-ray which showed a ‘dense opacity’ on his right lung.
Opacity — hazy gray areas on the scans — can often indicate fluid in the airspace, a thickening of air space walls, thickening of lung tissue or damage to the blood vessels.
Doctors diagnosed him with pneumonia complicated by septic shock and he was urgently given an oxygen mask to help regulate his breathing alongside antibiotics injected daily.
Follow-up blood tests revealed he had contracted pasteurella multocida, a common bacteria found in a dog’s mouth.
Medics said pneumonia ‘is rarely produced’ by the bug, although it typically triggers soft-tissue infections following bits and scratches from dogs and cats.
The man, however, told doctors he had not been scratched or bitten by his dog.
Although the team who treated him did not explicitly say he caught pasteurella multocida from a lick, they suggested it.
Medics warned that sharing a bed with a dog, kissing them and letting them lick you were ‘risk behaviours’.
The man made a ‘good recovery’ six months after being discharged.
His tale was published in the journal Respiratory Medicine Case Reports.
While anyone can catch pneumonia, babies and the elderly are most at risk of being badly affected.
About a third of cases come from a virus, such as flu or Covid, which makes its way into the lungs.
However, the majority of severe cases of pneumonia are caused by bacteria and are likely to severely affect people who are suffering from other diseases, and therefore have a weakened immune system.