Shih Tzu Bite Cost Single Mother Three Limbs: How Did Christine Caron Lose Her Legs And Arm? [VIDEO]

By Staff Reporter on July 23, 2013 12:10 PM EDT

Shih Tzu bite
A bite from her pet Shih Tzu mix nearly cost Christine Caron her life. Bacterial infections forced doctors to amputate three of Caron's limbs. (Photo: Creative Commons)

A Shih Tzu bite cost 49-year-old Christine Caron her legs and an arm. The small bite from her pet Shih Tzu mix Buster caused a fierce bacterial infection that nearly killed her.

Christine Caron's pet Shih Tzu gave her a small bite during a game of tug-of-war on May 22. Caron, a single mother of four of Ottawa, Canada, brushed off the nip as just another flesh wound. One of Caron's three other dogs gently licked her wound.

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In a matter of three days, Christine Caron went into septic shock, a severe infection that caused her body to shut down. Doctors raced to save her life as a medical team at Ottawa Hospital placed Caron into an induced coma for six weeks. Ultimately, the septic shock caused blood flow restrictions to Caron's extremities. Both her legs and her arm had to be amputated.

"When I woke up my legs were black and my arm looked sort of mummified," said Christine Caron. Doctors determined that the infection responsible for Christine Caron's septic shock was caused by Capnocytophaga canimorsus. The bacteria is commonly found in the saliva of dogs and cats. Doctors are unsure whether the bacteria came from the Shih Tzu bite or for from the second dog that licked her wound. Capnocytophaga canimorsus usually isn't dangerous to healthy adults.

While doctors managed to save Caron's life by amputating three of her limbs, her battle isn't over. The single mother is also awaiting skin graft surgery to her last remaining limb, her right hand. Caron has lost movement in her right hand, but is hoping it will regain function.

Despite the shocking loss of mobility, Christine Caron is determined to live a normal life with her children. Caron was also a gardener and a keen runner before she nearly lost her life to the infection.

Despite Caron's high spirits, the 49-year-old does not have health insurance. In order to get the medical attention she requires, Caron's family has set up a fundraising page in order to pay for her prosthetic limbs. Medical bills as well as the necessary renovations to her home will total approximately $100,000. So far, the fundraiser has received $13,000 in donations so far.

According to statistics, nearly 1 million Americans are bitten by dogs every year. The chance of infection from dogs may vary from as low as 3 percent to as high as 20 percent.

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