Canary Islands Man, 71, Contracts Pneumonia From Pet Chihuahua

Canary Islands Man, 71, Contracts Pneumonia From Pet Chihuahua

A 71-year-old man from the Canary Islands narrowly avoided a life-threatening situation after contracting pneumonia, believed to be linked to his beloved Chihuahua.

The severity of his condition, exacerbated by septic shock, highlights the potential risks associated with close contact with pets.

Despite the perilous nature of his illness, the man’s recovery serves as a testament to the resilience of the human body.


Delayed Medical Attention:

This gripping tale begins with the man experiencing symptoms for seven days before seeking medical assistance. His reluctance to seek help led to a critical delay in treatment.

The severity of his symptoms, including days of diarrhea and a high fever, should have prompted earlier action.

It was only after a week that he sought help at Hospital Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, La Gomera, when he found himself struggling to breathe and coughing up yellow mucus.


Complex Medical Diagnosis:

Upon examination, medics discovered a ‘dense opacity’ on his right lung during a chest x-ray, indicating potential fluid in the airspace or lung tissue damage.

A diagnosis of pneumonia complicated by septic shock was swiftly made.

The urgency of the situation required the immediate administration of an oxygen mask and a regimen of daily antibiotics.

Follow-up blood tests identified the presence of pasteurella multocida, a common bacterium found in dog saliva, further linking the man’s condition to his Chihuahua.


Potential Source:

While the medical team did not explicitly state that the lick from the Chihuahua caused the infection, they suggested it as a plausible source.

They caution against “risk behaviors” such as sharing a bed with a dog, kissing them, and letting them lick you.

The case underscores the importance of awareness about potential health risks associated with close contact with pets, even in the absence of visible scratches or bites.


Recovery and Cautionary Measures:

Six months after being discharged, the man made a “good recovery.”

His journey serves as a cautionary tale, emphasizing the need for vigilance regarding hygiene and potential health risks linked to intimate interactions with pets.

The medical report, published in Respiratory Medicine Case Reports, sheds light on the rare but serious consequences of infections that can result from the transmission of bacteria from pets to their human companions.


This compelling case illuminates the intricate relationship between human health and close proximity to pets. While such instances are rare, the consequences can be severe.

The medical community, through cases like this, underscores the significance of responsible pet ownership and the need for timely medical attention when symptoms arise.

The man’s recovery is a testament to the effectiveness of medical intervention and serves as a valuable lesson for pet owners worldwide.

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