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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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Testing for MRSA

How do we test for MRSA? The only way to identify MRSA is to take a sample and analyse it in a laboratory. A culture can identify the bacteria and [&hellip

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MRSA In Horses

Staphylococcus aureus can also be found in the nose, intestinal tract or skin of a small percentage of normal, healthy horses, although the frequency with which it is found varies [&hellip

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Treatments

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

How we have Helped

My dog Larry became infected with MRSA following cruciate ligament surgery (just like Bella did) I searched the website for information on pets and MRSA and found The Bella Moss [&hellip

Charlotte Hudley – Larry

Just before Christmas 2005 I discovered a growth on Flo’s the terrier’s chest. We knew about MRSA because a family member had contracted it while in hospital and we were [&hellip

Jane Maclure – Flo

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