GILLETTE, Wyo. (AP) — A dog has died of flesh-eating bacteria, but it was not related to three human cases reported by Campbell County Memorial Hospital, a veterinarian said.
It was not known how the 6-year-old Great Dane was infected, Dr. Darren Lynde, a veterinarian at Animal Medical Center in Gillette, told The Gillette News-Record in a story Wednesday.
Animal cases of the infection known as necrotizing fasciitis are extremely rare.
"I've done this for 20 years, and never seen this particular situation and probably never will again," said Lynde, who helped treat the dog named Nikita. "Most cats and dogs just clear the infection on their own."
Three human cases of flesh-eating bacteria were confirmed Friday at the hospital. Lynde said those cases were not related to Nikita's infection in Campbell County, where the animal died last week.
It's possible the potentially deadly, invasive Group A Streptococcus was on the dog's body or in dirt when a feral cat bit the dog, Lynde said. The bite may have allowed the bacteria to get into the dog's bloodstream.
Nikita's owner, Christine Williams, said she found her five dogs playing with the cat in her yard on Sept. 10. 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 center, where doctors were unable to save her.
Two of the three people treated for the bacteria were in close contact before being admitted to the hospital, said Dr. Tracy Murphy, the state epidemiologist.
"Based on the preliminary information we have, we don't perceive there is a threat to the public health," Murphy said.
Health officials have not said where the three people may have contracted Strep A. Citing patient privacy, officials have not commented on the conditions of the patients.
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.