From the newsletter of Barnet Association of Responsible Dog Owners.
MRSA- 'Super Bug'
News in the media and backed up by an article that was published in the publication 'Our Dogs' tells us that the 'super bug' that has been responsible for deaths to patients in our hospitals has caused the death of a Samoyed (Bella) who died of infection from the deadly bacteria this summer. The ten-year-old Samoyed dog is believed to be one of the first recorded cases of a dog dying of MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) in the UK.
The dog suffered an injury to a ligament in the knee and was subsequently operated on by a well known north London veterinary practice and it is thought that the infection may have been picked up at the surgery. Possibly due to poor hygiene standards at the practice. Jill Moss, Bella's owner is now calling for tighter guidelines for veterinary practices, including better hygiene regimes. Jill criticises their lack of a "code of practice" concerning hygiene and implies that similar short-comings apply in other veterinary practices. Jill has listed several key points that have arisen from her experience and feels that all of them need addressing further by the veterinary profession. Jill has set up a website dedicated to Bella and the ongoing quest to see better hygiene within the veterinary profession to prevent MRSA in pets: http://www.pets-mrsa.com
The Royal Veterinary College first documented MRSA in small animals in 1999 and researched the risks involved. David Lloyd, professor of dermatology said that MRSA has been building up gradually in the animal population and we have warned about it for some years. We want to determine the risks of MRSA transmission and infection amongst owners and pets. At present we believe there is a small risk that animals carrying MRSA could pass it on but it is unlikely that MRSA can sustain itself in healthy dogs and cats as it does in humans.
"If you have a weak immune system and the animal had MRSA there could be transfer, but this is rare. The bigger risk is that the human carrier will transfer MRSA to a sick pet". Unlike one in three humans, animals do not normally carry the Staphylococcus aureus (SA) bacteria which, when resistant to antibiotic treatment, is called MRSA. BARDO advises that you and your pet keep well and happy and be careful when either you or your pet are unwell. Remember it is the human who is the main carrier and we live with all kinds of bacteria (Staphylococcus included) in our bodies and on our skin without harmful effects. But problems can occur when they get into the blood stream or tissue through a cut or broken skin, particularly if an individual's immune system is weakened.
Please don't have nightmares these cases are very rare.