Signs and Symptoms

People who are infected with Capnocytophaga experience a range of signs and symptoms such as:

  • Blisters around the bite wound within hours of the bite
  • Redness, swelling, draining pus, or pain at the bite wound
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea and/or stomach pain
  • Vomiting
  • Headache and/or confusion
  • Muscle or joint pain

After being bitten, most people who become ill will show symptoms within 3 to 5 days, but this can range anywhere from 1 to 14 days.

Although infections are usually associated with dog or cat bites, some people who develop a Capnocytophaga infection have not been bitten. People may be infected after close contact with a dog or cat, especially after contact with the animal’s saliva (spit).

There can be long-term side effects from infection, including amputation from gangrene, heart attack, and kidney failure.

About 3 in 10 people who get infected die. Some infections can lead to death within 24 to 72 hours after symptoms start.

If you have been bitten by a dog or cat, call your doctor right away, even if you don’t feel sick.