Dogs can cause sepsis in humans just by licking them. Sepsis is a potentially life-threatening complication of an infection and occurs when chemicals released into the bloodstream to fight the infection trigger inflammatory responses throughout the body.
Professor John Oxford, emeritus professor of virology and bacteriology at Queen Mary, University of London, told The Hippocratic Post that dog’s mouths are covered in germs, “It is not just what is carried in saliva. Dogs spend half of their life with their noses in nasty corners or hovering over dog droppings so their muzzles are full of bacteria, viruses and germs of all sorts.”
A 70-year-old British woman ended up in intensive care with multiple organ failure after contracting a rare infection from her Italian greyhound.
British doctors detailed in the online journal BMJ Case Reports how the woman, who was a non-smoker and rarely drank, nearly died after the infection caused her to develop sepsis.
Sepsis can be a “silent killer” leading to organ failure and death without rapid treatment.
In addition, dogs carry pathogens such as salmonella and campolybacter, which are passed through their feces. An estimated 50 percent of dogs carry the campylobacteriosis infection, which causes diarrhea and gastroenteritis in humans.
Elderly people are more at risk because their immune systems may be weaker and because they are more likely to own pets.
Diseases transmitted from pets frequently go undiagnosed and the report authors warned doctors must be alert for pets passing on bacteria which can cause sepsis, particularly in the elderly.
Oxford explained: “Some, but not all viruses, can cross the species barrier and these are the ones that may cause problems. Although there is no evidence of transmission of canine influenza (an Influenza A) to people and there has not been a single confirmed case, these viruses do mutate so that they may be able to pass and spread among human hosts in the future.”
Hugs aren’t a great idea either because dogs really don’t like them. A study revealed that the gesture makes many canines anxious and stressed. A team of researchers analyzed 250 photos of people hugging their dogs and found that nearly 82 percent of dogs showed some sign of discomfort.
The best things to do to show your affection to your pup is to pet him or give him treats.