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Dog Saves Michigan Man's Life by Chewing Off His Toe

A Michigan man says he's grateful his dog ate most of his toe while he was passed out drunk.

Jerry Douthett of Rockford says his Jack Russell terrier, Kiko, helped uncover an undiagnosed diabetic condition and led to treatment that could save his life—even if it meant losing his toe.

The Grand Rapids Press reported that the 48-year-old musician knew for a while something was wrong with his foot. He resisted seeking care until giving in to his wife's pressure one day last month.

Before going for an appointment, Douthett says he went out drinking, then came home and passed out. When he awoke, the terrier was beside him in bed and lots of blood was where his toe used to be.

"But then I heard these screams coming from the bedroom, and he was yelling, 'My toe's gone, my toe's gone!'" Douthett’s wife, Rosee told the Grand Rapids Press.

Kiko had sniffed out a major problem that Douthett had been hiding—Type 2 diabetes.

Dogs have 220 million olfactory receptors in their noses, compared to only 50 million in humans.

"It smelled, and I look back now and realize every time we'd visit someone with a dog, their dog would be sniffing all over my foot," Douthett said.

His wife, a registered nurse, rushed him to Spectrum Health Blodgett Campus, where doctors found a serious bone infection and amputated the rest of the toe.

When admitted to hospital, Douthett had a dangerously high blood-sugar level of 560, significantly higher than the recommended 80 to 120.

Douthett joked with a nurse before the amputation that he would like to keep the rest of the toe as a treat for Kiko.

"If it hadn't been for that dog, I could have ended up dead," Douthett said.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Click here to read more from The Grand Rapids Press.