A pensioner narrowly escaped death after an innocent lick from his dog left him struggling to breathe, it has been reported.
Doctors believe the 71-year-old, from the Canary Islands, may have caught a rare bug from being licked by his Chihuahua.
The man, who has not been named, spent three weeks in hospital and was given an oxygen mask to help him breathe.
Eventually, he developed sepsis as a reaction to the infection, which can be deadly.
Before seeking help, the patient had suffered days of diarrhoea and a high fever, the Daily Mail reported.
It took him a week to go to hospital, doctors said, by which point he was short of breath and coughing up yellow mucus.
The former smoker had type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and a lung disease.
When he arrived at hospital, medics rushed him for a chest C-ray, which showed a ‘dense opacity’ on his right lung.
He was diagnosed with pneumonia complicated by septic shock, and given an oxygen mask to regulate his breathing.
The man told doctors he hadn’t been scratched or bitten by his dog, but blood tests revealed he had contracted pasteurella multocida, which is a bacteria commonly found in dogs’ mouths.
According to medics, pneumonia ‘is rarely produced’ by the bug, although it typically triggers infections following bites and scratches from dogs and cats.
Medics said sharing a bed with your dog, letting them lick you and kissing them are ‘risk behaviours’.
Babies and the elderly are at the highest risk of being badly affected by pneumonia, but anybody can catch it.
A third of pneumonia cases come from viruses such as Covid or the flu, making its way into the lungs.
Severe cases of pneumonia are often caused by bacteria, however, and are likely to affect people with a weakened immune system who are suffering from other diseases.
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