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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 and other pathogens. MRSA and other bacteria are transferred from one person to another or from a person to an animal by direct contact, and the source of the bacteria may be an infected wound, unwashed hands or any contaminated object with which a person or animal has had contact. Again, this transfer is harmless unless the recipient of the bacteria is in a state of vulnerability; either because of injury leading to an open wound, impairment of the immune system or through reduction of the normally occurring bacteria that inhibit the growth of transferred pathogens (which can happen as a result of the use of antibiotics or other antimicrobial agents).

The most common strains of MRSA affecting companion animals are those found in humans and usually those found in health-care settings. In particular, people who work in health-care settings may have a higher occupational risk of carrying MRSA and thus may be a greater potential source of transfer than those who do not work in such environments.

MRSA and other bacteria have the ability to survive in the environment for prolonged periods of time; therefore items and objects in those environments (telephones, computer keyboards, pens, tourniquets, stethoscopes) and those who work in higher risk settings (hospitals, care homes, veterinary practices) are more likely to present a risk of contamination and transmission.

The likelihood of bacteria being transferred from one location or person to another is reduced when good hand hygiene is practiced, as it is the hands that most come into contact with external objects, people or animals. Good hand hygiene should carried out whenever there is contact with a potential source of contamination, and appropriate cleaning of equipment should be an integral part of good clinical practice. For pet owners caring for post-operative pets at home, transmission of bacteria to the pet can be minimised by following good hand hygiene instructions.

Did you know...

Sick, very old and very young animals are those that are most at risk.

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All about infections

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MRSP

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

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MRSA in Farm Animals

In 2005, the first report on MRSA in pigs came from The Netherlands. A relation was found between MRSA positive persons and living on a pig farm or working with [&hellip

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Skin Infections & Pyoderma

1. How significant is infected dermatitis to the overall health of a dog? Superficial bacterial skin infections or pyoderma rarely cause significant illness. The clinical signs include itching, pustules, scaling [&hellip

How we have Helped

Zack Weeks-Brown is yet another Samoyed who contracted nosocomial MRSA, at a university vet hospital in February 2006. Fortunately, his surgical site was not involved, and he suffered “only” a [&hellip

Jill Beth Brown – Zack

In November of 2008, our 2 year old yellow lab, Heisman, was diagnosed with a torn cruciate ligament in her right leg. After extensive research about the options before us, [&hellip

Gwen – Heisman

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