Texas mom loses legs, fingers after 'minor' dog bite

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by JADE MINGUS / KVUE News and photojournalist ERIN COKER

khou.com

Posted on August 13, 2013 at 8:19 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 14 at 11:28 AM

LEANDER, Texas -- Robin Sullins is speaking out for the first time since a dog bite made her her gravelly ill.

Her daughter's dog bit her hand on Christmas Day, leaving behind a small scratch on her finger. She didn't realize anything was wrong until 48 hours later when she went to the hospital vomiting with a fever.

"Within three days of being in the hospital she was on life support," said her daughter Samantha Sullins who remained by her bedside during the entire ordeal. "I felt helpless."

Sullins' organs began failing and doctors had to amputate her legs and fingers while trying to figure out what was wrong.

"I feel really blessed to be here. I'm here because people wanted me here. People prayed and stayed and wanted me to be here," said Sullins. 

They determined it was capnocytophaga canimorsus, a bacteria found in one third of cats and dogs' saliva. It is normally harmless, except when an animal bites someone who already has a compromised immune system. In Texas, two to three cases are reported each year, the majority are mild.

Sullins says she doesn't blame the dog, and doesn't want other pet owners to worry.

"People don't be afraid of your dogs or your cats, love 'em," said Sullins. "If you get a scratch or something it doesn't hurt to have it checked out."

She is now learning to walk again with the help of prosthetic legs, and remains hopeful about the future with her four children, two grandchildren and partner.

"I lost only my legs and my fingers. I could have lost my nose, I could have lost so much, I could have lost my life," said Sullins. 

Sullins has a website to update the public about her journey. You can follow her progress or donate to help her with living expenses.

 

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