May brings more cases of MRSA infections in companion animals, including a case in New Hampshire that had gone on for over a year. That was particularly troubling as the vet who had originally performed the surgery refused any contact with the owner once the MRSA was identified, and it took a second vet to investigate and discover a three-and-a-half inch drain that had been left in the un-healing wound.
Thankfully, that second vet has really worked at improving her
knowledge of MRSA, and the dog began to improve almost as soon as the
drain was removed. The owners contacted us and we were very grateful to
get considerable help on this case from experts at Idexx Laboratories,
who are very willing to offer advice to vets, and the Royal Veterinary
College at Potter Bar. We hope that a Testimonial will be posted on The
Bella Moss Foundation website in the near future.
It was interesting, however, to find that in New Hampshire there is
a requirement for vets to notify the State Veterinary Department of
cases of MRSA in animals as they would cases of rabies. At present in
the UK there is no such requirement, but DEFRA’s awareness of the issue
is growing, and perhaps it won’t be too long before there is a central
record of cases of MRSA in pets over here. Also of interest is the fact
that New Hampshire has only recorded four cases of MRSA in pets.
Unsurprisingly, perhaps, all the cases of infection, except one,
followed orthopaedic surgery – the exception was infection following a
spay – and the vast majority of owners reported the same trend; one of
the first things that the vet said was that the infection could not
have come from the operation or veterinary staff and that therefore the
owner, or the animal itself, were responsible for the infection.
This is, of course, an extremely distressing thing to be told, and
we’ll be looking at it in more detail in an upcoming Website Editorial.
Because we’ve had a great many questions on the subject of keeping pets
healthy, we’ve put up a new page specifically answering some those
points. (Questions & Answers on MRSA and Pets) Soon, there will
also be a new page on dealing and living with MRSA in a pet long-term,
and both of those pages will be based on direct specialist veterinary
This month there will also be a new page put up where visitors to
the website will be able to access websites of companies with products
relevant to bacteria, infection and hygiene.
The PETS-MRSA forum has been generating a considerable amount of
comment since it started, some of it pretty heated at times, but the
fact that vets, pet owners, VNs and anyone else who wants have actually
been engaging in dialogue at all is positive.
We’d like to thank Richard Allport and James Hunt, for their
willingness to say who they are and contribute to the discussions. We’d
also like to thank all the Anon’s for not stealing other people’s
We’re in the process of producing a handbook based on the website
content that will be specifically for pet owners who don’t necessarily
find it easy to access the Internet. At the moment it’s about to go out
for proof-reading and comments, and we hope to be ready to publish in
two or three months.
We are also in discussion with a number of companies regarding
sponsoring the booklet and some of our other projects.
We’ve had more media coverage this month, with articles in the
Veterinary Times, Our Dogs, Dogs Today and Your Dogs, as well as
coverage from twelve BBC Local Radio stations on Friday May 13th. Jill
went to TV centre in London and did down-the-line interviews with
regional BBC radio stations that were all very interested in The Bella
BBC Swindon had a local vet on who said that he only knew of about ten
cases of MRSA in pets, but was content to be corrected, and Radio
Newcastle included Dr Freda Scott-Park in the discussion.
This was particularly welcome because we didn’t disagree on
anything. BBC Belfast was interested to learn about the Irish study
(see academic articles) of infections in 30 dogs.
All-in-all, a very tiring but worthwhile day.
The Bella Moss Foundation and pets-mrsa.com have many friends
supporting our work and we would particularly like to thank the ‘Our
Dogs’ team, Murray PR company, the staff at Dogs Today, Your Dog, D for
Dog website, petsonline.com, Aspenbloom wellbeing, and many more animal
journals and websites who have helped us to promote The Bella Moss
Foundation over the last few months.
We are adding all of the links to our links page on both pets-mrsa.com and The Bella Moss Foundation. We also wishes to thank all of the pet owners who have sent testimonials for inclusion on the Bella Moss Foundation website. Also a thank you to Mick Rich and Larry Roberts at Idexx Laboratory for allowing us to have access to latest research and statistics relevant to the Foundation’s work. Audio links of radio interviews are being updated on both websites and London Tonight (ITN) and GMTV footage is available on disc upon request.