On January 9th 2008 The Bella Moss Foundation became a Registered Charity, number 1122246. This was the culmination of many months’ work and the Trustees, Jill Moss, Mark Dosher and Elizabeth Yareham would like to thank the Charities Commission for the support and help they gave during the application process.
During 2007 we continued to provide support and information to pet owners whose pets contracted infections and to owners infected with MRSA having concerns about the welfare and safety of their pet. Enquiries through the website increased markedly throughout the year with significant numbers coming from the United States, and we have now enlisted the support and assistance of Dr Scott Weese of the University of Guelph, Ontario, and Dr Andrew Hillier of the University of Ohio Veterinary Teaching Hospital to provide expert veterinary advice to Canada and the United States. “I am so proud” said Jill, “to be the Founder and president of a Charity in Bella’s name that has helped so many people across the world. The Foundation is going from strength to strength and is now a global point of reference and support for veterinarians and pet owners.”
The Department of Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) now recognises The Bella Moss Foundation as an important organisation in promoting the health of companion animals, particularly MRSA, and the views of lay pet owners. Jill continues to be a member of the DEFRA Anti-microbial Resistance Committee sub-group on MRSA, and also DEFRA’s Consumer Engagement committee on animal welfare. Both Committees discuss research and planning courses of action to benefit animal welfare. There are now links between the DEFRA website and that of The Foundation and this indicates the degree of confidence that DEFRA has in the work of The Foundation.
DEFRA has also agreed to support the planned 2nd International Conference on MRSA in Animals to be held in Hertfordshire in 2009, and the Department of Health has expressed a strong interest in being associated with the event as well. The conference is planned to follow up on the research and practice reported at the 1st International Conference held in 2006 that for the first time brought together in the UK the world’s leading experts on MRSA in animals. The Foundation has already begun the preparatory work and will work closely with the other organisations involved in developing and presenting the event.
In 2007 we exhibited at Crufts in Birmingham, at Discover Dogs at Earls Court, London, the Midlands People and Pet Show and other companion animal events around the country bringing information not only to pet owners but to people who were just interested in pets and wanted to know of our work. This includes a large number of people who have mrsa and have concerns for their pets. We advise on prevention of cross infection and liaise with vets and GP’s when necessary.
The Bella Moss Foundation is very grateful to Terry Mansfield CBE (Chairman Hearst Media Corporation) whose pet, Inca, had recovered from an infection of MRSA. Inca became the star of our stand at Discover Dogs, Earls Court and Inca received great recognition for her role in many animal and veterinary press journals. We are very grateful to Terry for bringing her along. The Foundation would also like to thank all of the volunteers, many of them veterinary students and student nurses from Royal Veterinary College, Cambridge Veterinary School and Nottingham and Cambridge Veterinary School for their help at our events. We have found that veterinary students gain a lot of information about mrsa and enjoy attending our events, having a chance to talk to the public about mrsa and other serious infections affect8ing companion animals.
The foundation is constantly giving talks about our work, and we are grateful to the Stock bury Dog Club for allowing us to talk to their members and for granting us a very generous donation which we shall use to aid the care for sick animals. We are also pleased to have given talks about our work for Blue Cross animal hospital (London, and Grimsby)
The start of 2007 saw the continuation of our Continuing Professional Development programme for vets and veterinary nurses presented in association with Janssen Animal health. We were able to deliver seminars across the Midlands and the North of England and the response from those attending was almost universally positive. We weren’t able to visit all parts of the UK so plans are in hand to remedy this in 2008. We have had enormous feedback from veterinary practices who inform us that they have completely re-evaluated their infection control protocol as a result of attending these seminars, which were presented by Professor David Lloyd (RVC) Amanda Boag (RVC) and Tim Nuttall (University of Liverpool).
Helping pet owners
In 2007 we received increasing numbers of enquiries from pet owners on issues related to infections in their pets. We were able to offer information and support to everyone who contacted us, and we were also able to put front-line vets in touch with clinical experts where necessary. Some of those who got in touch have provided testimonials for the website, and these can be viewed at http://www.thebellamossfoundation.com/testimonials.asp
We know how important it is for pet owners to be properly informed on MRSA and also how important it is for them to have a good relationship with their vet. We always try to bring pet owner and vet together when MRSA strikes and know how unhelpful it can be to the welfare of an animal if the two sides cannot work together. Fortunately, there is increasing evidence that, with the right treatment at the right time, MRSA can be successfully overcome. In particularly vulnerable animals it can still be very difficult to treat, but with increasing awareness among vets and pet owners there is an increasing likelihood of recovery. The foundation has helped hundreds of animals with early detection and targeted treatment of antibiotics. It is important for pet owners to ask for swabs and cultures to be taken when bacteria is suspected and void long term broad spectrum antibiotics. Our experts will liaise with pet owners vets to advise further on cases.
We continue to conduct interviews in the press on mrsa in animals and we will be updating the website regularly with articles that have been published. We have just recently conducted an interview with Dogcast radio and a download is available at http://www.dogcastradio.com/episode58.php
The foundation also receives regular coverage in Dogs Today and Our Dogs as well as Veterinary Times. The new BMF website will update all of our interviews in the spring.
Raising awareness across the USA
The levels of community strains of MRSA effecting people and animals are a real concern. The dominant strain being reported to the foundation is USA 300 and it is probably only a matter of time before we see this strain emerging worldwide. More awareness needs to be raised among the US veterinary profession and public, and The Bella Moss Foundation is now conducting a series of interviews about MRSA for American media networks. We are also planning pod cast broadcasts and internet online training for pet owners and veterinary professionals.
American owners whom we have helped have come on board and now we are delighted to announce that we have a network of USA representatives who want to help us with our work.
Dr Kim Bloomer USA representative for the Bella Moss Foundation (New Mexico,USA)
Since first “meeting” Jill Moss online in January of 2005, I’ve been working behind the scenes in the USA to help educate on MRSA in animals. Almost every single USA pet owner we meet through The Bella Moss Foundation tells us that they didn’t know that pets could get MRSA and that the Bella Moss Foundation was the only place they could find real help for their pets. I joined with the Bella Moss Foundation because of Jill and Bella’s story initially, and now I stay because I see what tremendous progress has been made but we’ve miles to go to achieve the vision of the foundation. I believe the USA needs the help of The Bella Moss Foundation in order to go forward in preventing these types of infectious diseases that we’ve brought about as a result of focusing entirely on one type of medicine only, believing only in eradicating disease rather than preventing it through a whole health approach. This foundation would not exist if not for the avoidable tragedy that befell Jill and Bella but out of the ashes there is arising new life. Through education we can prevent tragedies like these and it is my fervent hope that the USA will see the huge need to join together with the Bella Moss Foundation so that we’ll save lives. Animal lives count, they are not disposable beings.
It is my dream to see integration in veterinary medicine with all health practitioners – allopathic, homeopathic, naturopathic, etc. - working together for the best possible health care for animals.
The next two statements are from two pet owners in the USA whose pets have been infected with MRSA. Their testimonials are on our pages.
Lori Spagnoli USA Representative (New Jersey, USA)
"We can think of no better way to neither conclude 2007 nor embark upon a truly new beginning of 2008 than with all the many meaningful blessings bestowed upon us by the best thing that has happened to our cat, Momo, in this past year by discovering The Bella Moss Foundation. By honoring Bella's life and her heedless tragic death occasioned by others' ignorance and fear of MRSA, Jill Moss has chosen to selflessly give the gift of life to so many others including our beloved Momo. Because of the many substantive doors the Foundation has opened thereby placing Momo directly on the road to recovery, it is our intention to honor Jill and Bella and express our deep gratitude to them both by agreeing to serve as a US representative in order to give back in some small way and in so doing help other infected animals and their owners in their time of need by sharing Momo's example and her experiences with others.
Andrea Irwin USA Representative (Castle Creek, NY USA)
Last year, when my dog Cooper was diagnosed with MRSA, I was scared, frustrated and confused. Fortunately, I found Jill and the Bella Moss Foundation. When Jill lost her beloved Bella to MRSA, she made a commitment to help others who were facing the same situation. I'm grateful to Jill and the foundation for the information (which was sadly lacking in the United States) and support, so I've made her goal my goal. I look forward to helping the foundation with their mission to reach the public with their important message. MRSA is preventable, if we are educated and work together.
Advisors of the Bella Moss Foundation more on this at http://www.thebellamossfoundation.com/advisors.asp Our Advisors have been invaluable to the way the Foundation has been able to help both pet owners and veterinary practices worldwide.
The foundation would like to thank the following organisations for helping us with furthering education and raising awareness by sponsoring our events and literature.
DEFRA (Department of Food and Rural Affairs)
Pet Plan Ltd
Pet Plan Charitable Trust
Janssen Animal Health
Idexx Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory
Skin sure vet
Stock bury Dog Club
Imagen Marketing Communications>
In 2008 The Bella Moss Foundation will be updating our websites and making access to information easier, the website address will not change. We will also be launching an interactive website for veterinary nurses which will contain clinical and practical information on MRSA. This project is sponsored by Pet Plan Charitable Trust and is to be launched in the spring of 2008.
The Foundation will give an extensive talk to the Veterinary Medicines Directorate about our work and will finalise plans for an 2009 International Conference on mrsa in animals. We shall keep you updated -
Watch this space for an update after Crufts March 6-9th 2008.