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MRSA and other antibiotic-resistant infections can be very serious and even fatal. Early detection can save lives – but, as with all disease problems, prevention is better.

A healthy pet has a stronger immune system, and so is better at fighting off infection. Regular health checks should be carried out by your vet as this is an opportunity to assess your pet’s immune system and get your pet examined for any signs of early health problems. Vaccine boosters and parasite treatment may be advised, but only when necessary. Vets now recognise that vaccines given too frequently can cause immune system disease and giving anti parasitic treatment too often can lead to resistant parasites (just as giving antibiotics too frequently can lead to antibiotic resistant bacteria).

Your pet’s diet is important because good nutrition leads to good health. Feed your animal high quality food, preferably fresh rather than processed and make sure they always have water available.

A healthy lifestyle is also important. Pets need to exercise everyday – dogs need walks and cats need to play. Pets need a safe, secure environment in the home with as few challenges to their immune systems as possible.

This section is to help you understand the importance of hand hygiene and keeping the immune system in your pet healthy so that infections are easier to fight off.

Author Richard Allport BVetMed, VetMFHom, MRCVS

Did you know...

A small proportion of the general pet population carry MRSA or similar MDR bacteria, but the carriage rate in sick animals that have visited veterinary practices is higher.

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