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Is when a bacteria jumps onto an object or individual, but is then quickly removed – so it is there only for a brief period of time. So, if a dog comes into contact with an MRSA-infected individual, he may pick up some MRSA. If we take samples from the dog soon after this transmission, we’ll find MRSA. However, a few days later we may find that on re-checking the dog, the MRSA has gone. The dog was a “carrier” under these circumstances.

Colonized humans or animals have MRSA living on them without showing signs of disease or illness. The MRSA is one of their commensal bacteria and lives normally on them, frequently around the nose, throat, armpits, bowel, groin and hands. Some individuals are colonized for short periods of time, while others can be colonized for longer periods of time. In general, short-term colonization is typical in animals. Lifelong colonization can occur in people, but there is no evidence that this is an issue in pets.

Confusingly, some people will use the word “carrier” to refer to animals or people who are actually “persistently colonized” (i.e. have MRSA on them constantly, although the bacteria is causing them no illness). The two terms are therefore sometimes used interchangeably, although they really should mean different things.

Most humans are colonized with S. aureus; about 30% are colonized with MRSA.(the 30% number is the percentage of people colonized with S. aureus, not MRSA) Dogs are normally colonized by different types of Staphylococcus to humans. They are less commonly colonized by “ordinary” S. aureus, and MRSA is even rarer than “ordinary” S. aureus – so MRSA colonization in dogs is much rarer than in people.

Remember: The only way to identify an individual as colonized is repeated sampling over a period of time. This is not usually necessary as the MRSA is not causing problems.


Jazz Before Jazz After

Jazz has now recovered from MRSA and is doing well

Infection is where the bacteria is overwhelms the body’s defenses and causes illness. For MRSA, this usually involves the skin being broken (allowing MRSA to get from the patient’s skin to deeper tissues where it should not be) or the patient having some form of immune system weakness (so the immune system does not control the MRSA as it normally would). The bacteria can also produce toxins (poisons), which may spread from the infection site. These often affect tissues surrounding the infection site; but if they get into the blood stream (referred to as “toxemia”); they can cause severe illness through the whole body. Finally, if the bacteria themselves get into the main blood stream (“bacteraemia”; if the bacteria not only get into the blood stream but start reproducing there, it is called “septicemia”), they can spread throughout the body.

Bacteraemia, septicemia and toxemia are rarer than simple localized infection, but are much more severe conditions and need extremely prompt and aggressive treatment.

All about infections


How Bacteria are Spread

Humans and animals all carry their own specialised colonies of bacteria. These are generally harmless in the normal course of events and serve to prevent the growth of alien bacteria [&hellip



Infections can generally be treated successfully with a single course of antibiotics, which may come in the form of creams or ointments, injections, or tablets, and many infections will even [&hellip



What are MRSP and Staphylococcus pseudintermedius? Staphylococcus pseudintermedius is a bacterium that is commonly found on the skin or in the nose or intestinal tract of 50% of more of [&hellip

How we have Helped

I have a little Bichon Frise called Libby who is nearly 10 years old so when she tore her crucial ligament and my vet advised an operation I was happy [&hellip

Ruth Reynolds – Libby

The support I have received from Jill @ pets-mrsa has been invaluable. Through her I have been helped and given advice from several top veterinary surgeons and microbiologists. My dog [&hellip

Anna Foster

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