An elderly man in Canada ∂ιє∂ of septic after a bite from his cat triggered a fatal septic shock, medical authorities said.
The unnamed man, 68, first went to Toronto General Hospital last winter with abdominal pain, weakness, chills and weight loss of 22 pounds, the Vancouver Sun reported.
Symptoms pointed to a blood infection — but further testing revealed a 4-inch enlargement in his aorta, near his heart.
The patient went into surgery to replace that part of his vessel with a synthetic tube valve, the Sun reported.
Yet doctors still had no idea what caused the illness, so the man was sent home.
Two weeks later, he was ∂ιє∂.
The cause: a nip on the thumb from his pet cat that triggered an aneurysm on his aorta.
Tests on a piece of his removed aorta later revealed the man had a Pasteurella multocida infection, caused by a bacteria most commonly spread by feline bites, the Sun reported.
His wife had told doctors that he had been bitten by their pet cat a month earlier — but medical staff ignored the report.
‘Sometimes as physicians we roll our eyes at information that seems to be extraneous,’ said Dr. Dennis Cho, who co-authored a study chronicling the Toronto patient’ s ordeal, to the Vancouver Sun.
‘Only looking back did we realize this was probably the key to unlocking the true diagnosis.’
Cho said pet bites are common enough, although this specific outcome is rarer. Most at risk are patients with low immunity and heavy drinkers, which was the case of the Toronto patient, according to the study on the World Journal of Clinical Cases.
Still, anyone bitten by an animal should be administered antibiotics.
‘There is a whole host of places where these bacteria can latch onto, which is why it’s kind of a scary thing,’ Cho told the Sun.
‘The long-term consequences are not recognized and probably under-detected.’
Similar cases have been reported in the Netherlands and Switzerland, according to the Sun.
Both men survived — but the Swiss patient kíllєd his dog after he learned of how he was infected.