People don’t usually praise dogs that bite you, however Jerry Douthett’s dog Kiko bit his owner and it actually saved his life.
One night Jerry passed out drunk. While passed out Kiko noticed that Jerry’s big toe had an infection. The dog preceded to chew away most of the infected toe.
Jerry went to the hospital and was told that his toe would require amputation. Jerry praised Kiko for helping him realize that the infection in his toe was due to Type 2 diabetes. When Jerry was admitted to the hospital he had a blood sugar level of 560 about 7 times the normal recommended blood sugar level.
Jerry’s wife, a registered nurse, said that “Jerry had all these Margaritas, so I just let him sleep. But then I heard screams coming from the bedroom, and he was yelling, ‘My toe’s gone, my toe’s gone!”
The problem’s Jerry was experiencing began several months earlier when he noticed a small spot on the bottom of his toe. He began to pick at it, and eventually resorted to using a knife to cut the skin away from the area. However, the area worsened and began to swell. So much so that Jerry was no longer able to wear shoes and had to wear sandals.
Jerry, who is a musician and well know personality in his local area, admitted that he was hiding his problem from everyone.
Jerry acknowledged that his toe had an odor, and that every time they visited friends with a dog the dog would sniff his feet.
A few weeks prior Jerry was lying down working on a car, and his wife Rosee noticed his foot. She was in shock and told him that they needed to go to the hospital immediately.
Rosee feared that her husband had Type-2 diabetes and asked him several times to get checked. Jerry fearing the diagnosis refused. Jerry was scared that the diagnosis would reveal he had the same disease that took his brother’s life some year earlier.
Jerry had finally made the decision to consult a doctor, but before seeing the doctor wanted to have the opportunity to get some liquid courage for the diagnosis to come.
So one afternoon Jerry drank 4-5 beers at a local restaurant, and then had two large margaritas. His wife drove him the short distance home, and he promptly passed out on their bed.
The next thing Jerry remembered was their dog, a one year old Jack Russell terrier, was laying on the bed beside him. Jerry looked down to see a pool of blood around his foot, and his big toe was gone.
The couple assume that Kiko ate the toe, because they couldn’t find it anywhere in the house.
Rosee, a gerontology nurse, rushed her husband to the hospital. Doctors discovered that Kiko had eaten the toe all the way to the nail line. After running some tests doctors confirmed that the bone was infected, and thus required amputation of the remaining part of the toe.
Dr. Russell Lampen, an infectious specialist at the hospital, recommended that Jerry get help immediately because his blood glucose levels were so high. It is his belief that the reason Jerry didn’t awaken immediately was because of severe nerve damage to the toe because of the diabetes.
Doctors believe Jerry can live a healthy life as long as he makes appropriate changes to his diet and manages the disease appropriately.
Jerry said that the news of his toe spread fast. At first no one could believe that his dog ‘ate his toe’.
Dogs are able to recognize everything form cancer to blood glucose levels. Dogs are currently being trained to recognize COVID-19. Dogs have 4 times as many olfactory receptors as humans.
As odd as this story is it is not the first time that a dog has chewed off the infected toe of a diabetic. A woman from Illinois, 56 year old Linda Floyd, awoke to her miniature daschund, Roscoe, chewing her toe off. Linda’s toe removal happened two years previous to Jerry’s.
Floyd had the same issue as Jerry, because there was no feeling in the toe due to nerve damage she didn’t feel anything when her dog chewed off her toe.
Unfortunately Ms. Floyd had her dog euthanized. Jerry considered doing the same thing briefly, but changed his mind when people pointed out the obvious. If it had not been for the dog he might be dead now.
Kiko was placed under house quarantine by the County Animal Shelter Services, and gets regular visits from animal control workers who are checking for signs of rabies. If Kiko shows no signs of rabies the quarantine will be lifted.
Meanwhile Jerry is taking it all in stride. He’s having fun with the incident by making up jokes about it with his friends. They had even held a “toe-jam” concert in honor of Kiko.