ROSEBURG, Oregon (AP) — A dog ate three of his owner's toes as the diabetic man slept, most likely out of instinct to help remove diseased flesh, animal experts say.
James Little, 61, made an emergency call on Tuesday to say his dog had eaten the body parts while he was sleeping. He told The Associated Press on Friday that he is "doing fine."
Little suffers from diabetes, of which one symptom is numbness in the hands or feet.
The dog, a Shiba Inu, was acting on its instinct to remove diseased flesh and does not appear to be dangerous, said Douglas County Animal Control Deputy Lee Bartholomew.
Dogs have been known to eat dead or diseased human flesh. A family's dog in Illinois ate the toes off a 10-year-old girl's left foot while she slept last December. She had a sore on her foot.
In August, a dog in Michigan bit off most of its owner's infected big toe after the man passed out from alcohol. The man had diabetes, and the animal was apparently attracted to a festering wound.
Little has given up ownership of his dog, putting it up for adoption pending an examination and a standard 10-day quarantine to determine it does not have rabies, Bartholomew said.
The dog was taken to Roseburg's Saving Grace Pet Adoption Center, where executive director Wendy Kang said the animal is healthy but appears anxious.
Little was in fair condition at a hospital and expected to be released later Friday.