fish spa
A girl undergoes fish spa treatment at a fish spa in Spain, April 29, 2012. The tank contains Garra Rufa, also known as "doctor fish," that are used to exfoliate feet or hands as they nibble away dead skin. REUTERS/Enrique Calvo

A woman needed to have all five toes on her right foot amputated after she was diagnosed with osteomyelitis, a bone-eating infection, following a fish spa in Thailand. Victoria Curthoys of Perth, Australia, was holidaying in Thailand in 2010 when she was infected.

The fish spa, which involves freshwater fish feeding off dead skin particles to reveal fresh new skin underneath, was left her with no toes on her right foot. The water in the tank she used was reportedly infected with a water-borne disease found in Thailand.

After suffering from constant fevers and sickness when she returned home, doctors eventually diagnosed her with osteomyelitis, a rare but serious infection. According to the WebMD, acute osteomyelitis develops rapidly over a period of seven to 10 days. Symptoms include fever, irritability, fatigue, nausea, swelling around the affected bone, lost range of motion.

Despite showing symptoms of fever, doctors in Australia took two years to diagnose her with the water-borne bug. As Curthoys has already suffered a prior injury on her toe, the bug rotted away the rest of her big toe, forcing medics to amputate it in 2012.

Further infection developed due to the pressure of walking on smaller toes. All her toes were amputated over the next five years.

"When I was in Thailand I decided to use a fish spa. I thought nothing of it as I’d watched the owner set up the system and it looked very clean, but how wrong I was," Victoria said opening up about what happened to her. "I ended up getting another bone infection in my big toe and it took doctors over a year to figure out what type of bug I had... By the time they’d realized what it was, my entire toe bone had been eaten away and I’d been suffering from sickness the whole time."

Her last toe was removed in November 2017 and since then she has been posting photos of her amputated foot to warn others against the dangers of fish spas.

"I can honestly say that my foot has never been as healthy as it is now. Now I can put pressure on my foot," said Victoria. "At the end of the day I’ve seen people with far worse injuries and life-altering illnesses, so I consider myself lucky."