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What is a Capnocytophaga infection following a dog bite?

On Behalf of | Feb 16, 2022 | Personal Injury

A dog bite can result in severe tissue, muscle, and bone injuries. A bite can be disfiguring or cause permanent nerve damage in extreme cases. If you suffered a bite from a dog, you may also need to worry about Capnocytophaga.

According to the CDC, Capnocytophaga occurs following cat or dog bites.

What is Capnocytophaga?

Capnocytophaga is bacteria that may live in the saliva of dogs and cats. The germs in their mouths do not make them sick, but they can make people extremely ill. While a bite from a dog or cat does not guarantee Capnocytophaga, it does increase the risk. Those who have weak immune systems have a higher chance of infection.

In some cases, the animal does not have to bite you for the infection to spread. However, when dogs bite, they leave punctures on the skin. The punctures create an opening for infection into the wound. A Capnocytophaga infection can lead to severe complications, such as gangrene, heart attack or kidney failure.

What are the symptoms of Capnocytophaga?

You may begin to show symptoms in one day or as many as two weeks. On average, most people show signs within the first three to five days following the bite.

Keep watch over your bite. Blisters forming around the injury within the first few hours are a significant indicator of infection. Likewise, any redness, pain, swelling or draining pus can indicate Capnocytophaga.

Other symptoms may include headaches, joint pain, fever, stomach pain and vomiting.

Capnocytophaga can become serious quickly. About three out of 10 people die due to severe infection and sepsis. It only takes about 24 to 72 hours for sepsis to become fatal after the initial symptoms.


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