Family Dog Chews off an Infected Diabetic Toe and Saves Owner's Life

Yes, that title says what you think it says. I must begin with a warning...this post is not for the faint of heart or stomach! So a friend of mine on Facebook posted this and I just had to write about it. Check out the link to this article about how a man found out he had diabetes. Take your time, read it, and come on back for my comments...I'll wait.

First of all, the comments I heard were that he had to be PRETTY drunk to not feel his dog chewing off his toe (yuck!). That may be why he passed out, but he didn't feel it for another reason. What he didn't know is that he is diabetic...with a blood sugar level of over 500! Blood sugar should be kept at or below 120 for a controlled diabetic. With uncontrolled diabetes comes a syndrome called Peripheral Neuropathy. Neuropathy is a syndrome where the nerves become numb as the small vessels in the foot are affected by the high blood sugar levels. The foot becomes so numb that he wouldn't feel a splinter, a bump, an infection, or even a dog chewing it off.

So how did chewing his toe off save his life? According to the article, the infection was in the bone. This type of infection could have spread up his leg putting his entire limb in danger. In fact, it could have put him into sepsis which could kill him. By the dog performing the amputation, he removed the infected section and prevented this from happening.

The take home message is this...if you notice a problem in your feet, whether you are diabetic or not, do not wait until your dog operates on you! Although much less newsworthy, you should visit a podiatrist to make sure that you are not putting your life or your limb in jeopardy.

For those who want more on the story, watch the video below ('s pretty gross!)

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Dr. Andrew Schneider
Dr. Andrew Schneider is a podiatrist and foot surgeon at Tanglewood Foot Specialists in Houston, TX.
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