What happens when you combine a festering toe wound, a doctor-averse person, a dog and a lot of alcohol. Well, I guess you get Jerry Douthett and his dog Kiko, a Jack Russel who is being called a "lifesaver" for gnawing off Jerry’s infected toe.

Apparently Mr. Douthett had what he believed was a small sliver in his toe a few months earlier. He picked away at it for a while, later using a knife to trim away infected tissue. The toe became so inflamed that he couldn’t wear shoes. Eventually, he decided to numb the pain and his fear of doctors with a large volume of alcohol. After having 4-5 beers at a local restaurant, he downed two giant margaritas, then passed out after his wife drove him home. His wife explained "Jerry had had all these Margaritas, so I just let him sleep, but then I heard these screams coming from the bedroom, and he was yelling, ‘My toe’s gone, my toe’s gone!’" 

Indeed it was, or at least most of it. "The toe was gone," he said. "[Kiko] ate it. I mean, he must have eaten it, because we couldn’t find it anywhere else in the house. I look down, there’s blood all over, and my toe is gone."

After the Jack Russel relieved Jerry of most of his big toe, Jerry ended up finally going to the hospital. Doctors confirmed that the rest of the toe needed amputation and the infection (which had reached the bone) was probably the result Type II diabetes.They removed the rest of the toe and treated the infection.

Jerry’s not upset with his dog. Rather, he’s grateful that Kiko’s snacking made him go the the doctor, which led to him finally being diagnosed with diabetes which can now be properly managed. The dog is under a 10-day quarantine for rabies observation, as would happen with any dog bite.

People with diabetes are at high risk for various types of infections. I’ve heard of diabetics with serious foot infections that developed because their pets were licking foot wounds or chewing on their toes. Diabetics can have decreased nerve sensation and sometimes don’t notice when their pet is doing damage by licking or chewing.

Diabetes is not a reason to avoid pets, but the increased risk of infection means that extra care needs to be taken to reduce the risk of infections caused by pets, particularly from pets licking wounds directly and from people indirectly spreading bacteria from a pet to a wound. Simple, logical preventative measures around pets and good attention to hygiene are important.

Not drinking yourself into a stupor also helps.

(click image for source)