Sunday, July 24, 2011

MRSA and Pets

We've heard a lot about MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureusproduce) mainly as it affects people. It also affects companion animals. But there's no need to panic. If you have a healthy dog or cat, there is little chance of your pet being infected with MRSA. Even if your pet does have MRSA, caught in time, it will survive with proper diagnosis and treatment.

We are learning more about MRSA thanks to Jill Moss, Founder and President of The Bella Moss Foundation in the U.K. Her rescue dog, Bella, developed MRSA following cruciate surgery. Sadly, it was not properly diagnosed and Bella ran through a complete spectrum of antibiotics to no avail. When Jill lost Bella to MRSA she decided that this would not happen to anyone else's pet. Since 2004, the non-profit foundation has worked with veterinarians, the U.K. government and the International Society for Companion Animal Infectious Diseases--and is making a good start at doing the same in the U.S.--to educate and inform vets, pet owners and pet caregivers about MRSA.

"Pet owners need to know that although MRSA and other resistant infections can be very serious--even fatal--they can, if detected early enough, be treated successfully," says Moss. MRSA is not a death sentence.

It's important for pet owners to ensure that their pets receive the correct course of treatment. Just as in people, overuse of antibiotics in pets can cause antibiotic strains of microorganisms to evolve. Talk with your veterinarian on a case-by-case basis regarding the use of antibiotics to ensure that they're used responsibly.


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