A dog in Gillette, Wyoming, has died of necrotizing fasciitis—flesh-eating bacteria, according to a Sept. 26 report by SFGate.com. A bite by a feral cat may have allowed the bacteria to get into the dog's bloodstream, according to the veterinarian who treated the 6-year-old Great Dane, named Nikita.
Dr. Darren Lynde, a veterinarian at the Animal Medical Center in Gillette told the Gillette News Record that animal cases of the infection are extremely rate and not related to three human cases of flesh-eating bacteria recently reported by Campbell County Memorial Hospital.
Dr. Lynde said it is not known exactly how the dog was infected, but it is possible the potentially deadly, invasive Group A Streptococcus was on the dog's body or in dirt when a feral cat bit the Great Dane. He said the bite may have allowed the bacteria to get into the dog's bloodstream, according to SFGate.com.
Nikita's owner, Christine Williams, said she found her five dogs playing with the cat in her yard on September. 10, according to the report. Nikita began to limp the next day. "By that night, she could hardly walk on that foot," Williams said. Williams took the dog to the Animal Medical Center, but veterinarians were unable to save her.
Dr. Lynde told reporters that animal cases of the infection known as necrotizing fasciitis are extremely rare. “Most cats and dogs just clear the infection on their own," he said.
"Based on the preliminary information we have, we don't perceive there is a threat to the public health," said Dr. Tracy Murphy, Wyoming state epidemiologist. However, health officials have not made any information public on where the three people may have contracted the Group A Streptococcal infection, the Star Tribune reports..
A strep infection typically causes mild symptoms such as strep throat or the common skin infection impetigo. But strep bacteria can be life-threatening if an infection enters the bloodstream.
According to health officials, the most common way of getting necrotizing fasciitis is when the bacteria enter the body through a break in the skin, like a cut, scrape, burn, insect/animal bite, or puncture wound.