No update in June simply because things became very hectic with the Charity, but here is a brief recap of what we’ve up to since May.
Lancashire Dog Show: The Japanese Shiba Inu Dog Club of Great Britain invited Jill and Mark to attend their companion dog show and fun day a in Lancashire (see separate item on www.thebellamossfoundation.com) in early June. On a beautiful afternoon in the Lancashire countryside, Jill and Mark were able to meet and talk to many pet owners who had never heard that MRSA can affect animals. Jill had the opportunity to explain to everyone how the Foundation had started and what its aims are. A great deal of interest was generated, and in a particularly generous gesture, the organiser, Charlotte Craig of the Samoyed Association of Great Britain pledged a proportion of the day’s proceeds to The Foundation. The Foundation would like to thank Charlotte and everyone else who made Jill and Mark so welcome and showed such interest in the work of the Foundation.
Surrey Diagnostics: A visit was made to Surrey Diagnostics, a microbiology lab in Surrey. Alistair Thompson and Professor John Bleby gave their morning over to describing the work of the lab and discussing issues related to MRSA in companion animals. Jill’s description of the work of the Foundation in developing awareness of MRSA was of particular interest to Alistair and John and they were keen to look at ways in which they could support our efforts.
University of Lincoln: Jill and Mark were on the road again in July visiting the Equine Centre of the University of Lincoln where developments have been made in anti-microbial materials for, among other things, animal bedding, blankets and bandages. Frank Reudisueli, a Senior Lecturer on the faculty staff, spent the morning describing how the material had been developed and the uses to which it could be put, and then described a field study that is being undertaken on another product. Frank has agreed to write a piece for PETS-MRSA.COM on the technology behind the material as well as on the field study, and that will be going up on the website in the next few weeks.
DEFRA Committee: Jill has been invited to sit as a member of the MRSA sub group of the DEFRA Anti-Microbial Resistance Committee, and attended her first meeting on July 6th. Whilst the discussions themselves are confidential and cannot be reported here, Jill was able to represent the views and concerns of pet owners to experts and researchers from DEFRA, the BVA BSAVA, department of Health, the RVC and the Health protection Agency, and described the experiences being reported by vets and pet owners to The Foundation.
Assistance to Pet Owner: Katrina, one of the pet owners who has been in touch with Jill through The Foundation recently found herself in need of practical help and support. Jill was able to liase with The Royal Veterinary College in getting Jessie, a Staffordshire Terrier, referred for tests. Katrina made the journey down from East Anglia with Jessie who spent two nights at the RVC. News was good, however, and Jessie’s expected surgery was found to be unnecessary at this time, so more tests will be carried out in the next few months. The Foundation would like to thank the Royal Veterinary College for the care, sensitivity and clarity they displayed during what was a very worrying and stressful time for Katrina.
New Page Planned: A new page will soon be going up on the website. Written by vets, the new page will focus on caring at home for companion animals infected with or carrying MRSA. This is a growing issue, and The Foundation is receiving increasing numbers of enquiries asking what to do. We hope that the new page will give information and reassurance to owners whose MRSA-infected pets have to be cared for at home.
New Audio and Video Links: Links can now be found on the website to more of the interviews that Jill has given, as well as the ITV London Tonight news item from May.
The Bella Moss Foundation Booklet: A booklet written by Jill and Mark is in its final stages of preparation prior to publication. Written specifically for those who have difficulty accessing the Internet, it is an abridged version of the two websites; PETS-MRSA.com and The Bella Moss Foundation.com. Unlike the brochure that is currently downloadable from the websites, it is planned that it will be available to Foundation members (once we have a membership scheme in operation) for free, and to anyone else for a donation. At present it is out for consultation on the content. We are pleased to say that a couple of companies are interested in sponsoring the printing costs. We hope to make it available by the end of September.
Foundation Bank Account: The Bella Moss Foundation has finally opened its own bank account! In the next few weeks we will be able to inaugurate a Membership and Patron scheme and set up a system allowing on-line donations.
Memorial Meeting on the Anniversary of Bella’s Death: Preparations are now in progress to bring together at Jill’s house as many pet owners as possible who’s pets have been infected with MRSA. This will coincide with the anniversary of Bella’s death and will give everyone an opportunity to recognise her passing and find mutual support for the experiences they have gone through. It is planned to plant a tree in Bella’s memory.