Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Rare disease
‘Biting the hand that feeds’: fever and altered sensorium following a dog bite
  1. Joseph Hawkins1,
  2. Ann Wilson2,
  3. Eric McWilliams3
  1. 1Department of Internal Medicine, Conquest Hospital, St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, UK
  2. 2Department of Microbiology, Conquest Hospital, St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, UK
  3. 3Department of Cardiology, Conquest Hospital, St Leonards-on-Sea, East Sussex, UK
  1. Correspondence to Eric McWilliams, eric.mcwilliams{at}


Capnocytophaga canimorsus infection is the most severe and rapidly progressive bacterial infection transmitted by dog bite and fortunately is very rare. The authors describe a 68-year-old gentleman who presented in an acute confusional state 2 days after having been bitten on the left hand by a dog. Despite immediate broad-spectrum intravenous antibiotics, he developed significant sequelae including disseminated intravascular coagulopathy, microvascular emboli leading to peripheral necrosis, widespread local tissue destruction and septic arthritis.

Our case illustrates a life-threatening presentation of infection with C canimorsus, which is known as ‘the dog bite organism’. Early diagnosis and aggressive treatment is key to survival.

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • This is a reprint of a paper that first appeared in BMJ Case Reports, BMJ Case Reports 2011; doi:10.1136/bcr.08.2010.3265.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.