LONDON - A 70-year-old British woman nearly died after contracting an infection from her greyhound’s “kisses”.

The unnamed woman was speaking to a relative on the phone when she started slurring her speech, says the doctors’ magazine. The relative raised the alarm after the woman became unresponsive. Paramedics found the woman unconscious in a chair and took her to hospital.

She was first thought to have suffered a seizure, as she has a history of epilepsy. However, her symptoms grew worse over four days, with a headache, fever, chills and diarrhoea. She was found to have suffered sudden kidney failure.

Blood tests showed she had become infected with a bacterium called Capnocytophaga canimorsus, which is found in the mouths of dogs and cats and can cause sepsis if transmitted to humans.

The woman spent two weeks in intensive care being treated with antibiotics. Around 30 days after she was admitted to hospital, she was released and was able to return home.