A Wisconsin man who lost parts of his arms and legs to a rare blood infection caused by licks from a dog says he will always love the animals, despite everything he has gone through.
"I will never stop loving dogs, you know, because of what happened to me," said Greg Manteufel at a Tuesday news conference, where he spoke to reporters with his wife by his side.
Manteufel, 48, was released from the hospital two weeks ago after undergoing more than 10 surgeries since June.
He first started feeling pain in his legs on June 26. "I couldn't really walk," he said. He felt feverish and delirious and had bruising on his body.
Eventually he was taken to Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.
"When Greg had come in he had developed a severe bloodstream infection with rare bacteria capnocytophaga," said Dr. Patrick Hettinger, a plastic surgeon at the hospital.
Capnocytophaga is a bacteria that's common in the saliva of cats and dogs. It is rare for the bacteria to lead to illness in people.
Manteufel has a dog but it is unclear whether he contracted the infection from his pet or another dog.
"I just couldn't believe it," he said. "I've been around dogs my whole life. It's hard to take, you know?"
Surgeons were forced to amputate part of his forearms and legs because circulation ceased to his limbs. Once the wounds on his arms and legs have healed, he will be fitted with prosthetics, likely within the next two months, doctors told WDJT.
The loss of circulation also affected his nose and upper lip, which will require reconstructive surgery over the next year, doctors said.
Manteufel, who worked as a house painter before he was hospitalized, said he hopes to walk and drive again. Doctors say that will be possible once he gets used to the prosthetics.
"It's been a long tough journey but close to over," Manteufel said.
He commended his doctors for their work, but they were quick to return the praise.
"Through all of this, the real star of the show is Greg," said Dr. Hettinger. "He's had the most positive attitude of any patient I have ever met and he's approached this with a fight that I don't think I've seen in any patient."
Beverly Hills veterinarian Dr. Jeffrey Werber told Inside Edition the bacteria that infected Manteufel is found in 75 percent of dogs but rarely spreads to humans.
“In my opinion, you can have your dog lick you and yes, you will be fine,” he said.