West Bend man who lost limbs due to dog lick gets visit from fellow survivor

The West Bend man who lost his legs and hands due to an infection traced to a dog's saliva is getting a visit from someone who suffered the same health complication. 

Stanley Cole, of Big Flats, New York, flew into the Milwaukee area with his wife on Friday morning. 

Cole lost both of his legs after one of his puppies licked an open wound on his hand in 2007. He spent four and a half months in a coma. 

While doctors didn't have to amputate Cole's hands, he said he no longer has feeling in them. 

According to Cole, the infection that cost him his legs is the very same one that led 48-year old Greg Manteufel's family to take him to the hospital in late June after he complained of flu-like pains and fever. 

Manteufel remains hospitalized, and his family told TODAY'S TMJ4 they're still struggling to grasp how their lives will change going forward. 

That's why Cole said he wanted to visit Manteufel in person. The two have already spoken by phone. 

Cole hopes his story of survival and recovery will inspire Manteufel to stay physically and mentally strong. 

"That's my main objective in coming out here," he said. 

Cole is back to activities like bicycling and riding a motorcycle thanks to prosthetic legs.

"There's not anything I did before I lost my legs that I can't do now," Cole said. "I may approach things differently, but I still get them done." 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said its online reference library has received reports of 12 positive cases of the same infection that impacted Manteufel and Cole. 

"These are likely only the most severe cases or those in which diagnosis was complicated for some reason," a spokesperson said via email. 

"Most dogs and many cats have Capnocytophaga in their mouths (oral flora). These bacteria do not make dogs or cats sick. Rarely, Capnocytophaga species can spread to humans through bites, scratches, or close contact from a dog or cat and cause illness," the CDC said.

"Most people who have contact with a dog or cat do not become sick," according to the CDC. "People with a weakened immune systems who have difficulty fighting off infections (for example, people with cancer or those taking certain medications such as steroids) are at greater risk of becoming ill. One of the key risk factors is not having a spleen." 

Manteufel's family has set up a GoFundMe page here in anticipation of costs associated with eventually acquiring prosthetic limbs and moving to a one-story home. 

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