Some of the animals we have helped
Atlas joined our family in August 2013 as a foster dog. He is a senior German Shepherd Dog who was pulled off the Euthanasia List at our County Shelter. When he arrived at our home, he was about 30 lbs underweight and covered in weeping sores, matts and foxtails.
We love taking on the difficult ones and nursing them back to health and this guy has taken us down a whole new path with an illness of which we had no experience: Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococci Pseudintermedius (MRSP), very similar to Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
During the first several months, we cleared most of the lesions on his body with medicated baths 3 times a week, antibiotics, premium food and supplements plus topical coconut oil. However, he had a stubborn draining tract between his hind toes and a lesion on his forearm.
We worked closely with an integrative veterinarian, Dr Pamela Ford DVM, who focused a lot of attention on Chinese Herbs, natural supplements, glandulars and cold laser treatments.
For a year, we tried different antibiotics that would *almost* clear the infections, then the stubborn areas would blow up again. Cultures repeatedly showed that the bacterial strain had become resistant to the previous antibiotic. It was becoming scary the more I researched and realized that this may never go away. MRSP is a very serious, and somewhat common, problem in pets. We eventually stopped antibiotics because the bacteria kept morphing. We focused all efforts on boosting the immune system and cleaning the infected areas twice a day, washing and doing topicals. We were in close contact with our vet to ensure the infection didn’t rage out of control without pharmaceuticals.
Throughout, I was constantly chasing any new product or modality that I read about. Our vet consulted with colleagues and gathered samples at conferences, with Atlas in mind. We tried Homeopathy, Cold Laser, and every supplement that one could imagine. We found small animal MRSA/MRSP expert Dr. Scott Weese DVM, a Zoonotic Disease microbiologist with the University's Centre for Public Health and Zoonoses (Guelph, Canada), whom our vet consulted with, as well. We worked with a Homeopath out of Oregon. The Bella Moss Foundation also provided support, references and direction. During these trials and tribulations, the consistent thread was boosting his immune system, feeding an anti-inflammatory diet and providing anti-inflammatory supplements. I believe we will always need to do this, he is predisposed to reoccurrence.
Finally, the breakthrough came when I was reading The Bark magazine about Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) helping a dog who had developed a MRSA infection post-surgery. I immediately searched for vets with chambers through http://www.hvmed.com and found an Integrative Veterinary Oncologist, Dr Betsy Hershey DVM, with a chamber. As luck would have it, we already knew her; she had treated two of our previous dogs for cancer.
Atlas was her first MRSP case and she was confident that it would help; she guessed it would resolve with about ten treatments. I was cautiously hopeful, since his infection had proven so stubborn and our hopes had been dashed so many times before. We did twenty-two treatments and it did indeed clear the MRSP tract between his toes. The forearm lesion has been officially diagnosed as German Shepherd Dog Deep Pyoderma with no MRSP present. The HBOT did wonders to heal the forearm as well but we didn’t quite get it completely eradicated.
The HBOT was beneficial for this senior boy in so many ways and I would recommend it to anyone and everyone. In Atlas’ case, it cleared the MRSP tract, it improved his mobility, it improved his energy, and it eliminated his incontinence.
Although we continue to battle the GSD Deep Pyoderma, I am hopeful that we will conquer it with another series of HBOT treatments. By clearing the MRSP infection, the worst is behind us.
I have met many pet owners through Atlas’ journey and it's alarming how common-place resistant bacteria are becoming. My advice will always be to work closely with an integrative veterinarian (Holistic DVM) who will help you support your pets immune system in addition to selecting appropriate pharmaceuticals. And “culture-culture-culture," do not blindly throw antibiotics at infections or ailments without being certain that they are appropriate and needed. Don’t be hesitant to get second opinions and pull as many experts onto your team as needed. Most importantly, don’t give up hope and always advocate for your pet.
Despite Atlas’ medical problems, this foster dog became a Foster Victory and we officially adopted him a few months after he came to us. Once one takes a journey like this with such a special dog, how could you let him move on?
I was truly devastated and lost hearing the diagnosis of MRSA. I thought my dog’s life was over.
The MRSA was on my dog’s nose and diagnosed with a punch biopsy.
The Vet told me, “ Just keep things clean & wash my hands” then sent me on my way.
What!!!??? The support and information just wasn’t there!
So as a trained medical assistant, I got on the internet. Finding the Bella Moss Foundation’s was a miracle.
The Doctor’s, Clinicians’, Staff and Volunteer’s reached out with an abundance of advice and information!
I was given ALL the tools to battle and conquer this ugly disease after 6 months. They also kept in touch, so I never felt alone!
How amazing is it , that someone ½ way across the globe, helped my Alaska Sky and I!!
I could NOT have done this battle without the Bella Moss Foundation!
Please know, that I proudly share my story with other dog owner’s, family and friends. Recommending your Bella Moss Foundation to ANY and EVERYONE!
A mere thank you, simply isn’t enough for saving my Alaska Sky and seeing a new day!
With Deep Gratitude and Hugs!!
Debi and Alaska Sky
Lakewood, California United States
This is Jed the most sweet loving Rottweiler I ever had.. I got him from a family friend who could no longer keep him in 2011. He had epilepsy and suffered from cluster seizures. She was going to have to surrender him to animal control because of some unfortunate circumstances. I knew that if she did, odds were that they would have to put him down because there was too much liability with adopting out a dog with epilepsy. So I agreed to take him, he was so sweet I couldn't bare the thought of him being put down.
He was only 2 years old when he joined my family. About a year later I noticed Jed was walking strange so I took him to the vet and was told he had a torn ACL and would need surgery. I wasted no time and scheduled him for surgery. The surgery went well and so did his recovery. About 9 months after surgery I noticed Jed's knee was really swollen after taking him for a walk. Later that evening the skin burst open with oozing puss. I immediately called Jed's surgeon who assured me it was probably just irritated and to have my regular vet take a look. So I wasted no time again and took Jed to the vet where they confirmed the ACL repair failed and told me that Jed would need a second surgery to correct it. I immediately called the surgeon and scheduled the second ACL surgery. A day later the surgeon called me back and asked if before Jed's surgery if my regular vet would pull the fluid from Jed's knee and test it just to be safe. Back to the vet we went, the next day. A few days had gone by when I received a phone call telling me that Jed had a MRSA infection in his knee, which was likely from his ACL surgery and that he needed emergency surgery to remove the material used for the ACL repair and flush the knee. I was not going to take Jed back to the original surgeon so I opted for a specialty surgery center. They informed me of my options, I could amputate or just flush the knee and put Jed on antibiotics. They also warned me that the antibiotics are very had on the organs, specifically, the liver. I had read a lot about ACL tears and one of the things that I learned is if a dog has one ACL tear, there is a 50% chance that the will tear the other. With that in mind I was afraid to amputate so I opted for the flush and antibiotics. Again surgery went well and we took Jed home with a prescription of Rifampin. A few days later we went for a follow up with my regular vet to check on how things were going. When I talked to my vet, she asked if anyone had suggest Milk Thistle to help with Jed's liver, because he was already on Phenobarbitol & Gabapentin she was afraid that he might not survive the antibiotics. She gave me some literature on Milk Thistle and recommended a brand and strength. I immediately bought the Milk Thistle and added it to Jed's daily medicine regimine. A few days after taking the Rifampin Jed started having seizures because the Rifampin was interfering with his seizure medications. So we had to increase his dosage of the seizure medicines. The seizures stopped and all seemed well, until about 6 weeks later. We had been going to the vet to run blood work every other week to make sure Jed's liver was okay and this time the results were really bad. Jed's liver was shutting down and he was starting to have cluster seizures again. I admitted him to the animal hospital where they did everything they possibly could. On October 31st, 2013 I got the call that Jed had passed in the night. I was so heartbroken and angry at myself, I was so sad that he passed all alone in the hospital. Had I made the decision to amputate maybe Jed would still be alive? I don't know the answer to that but I do know that I will always wish I had made a different decision.
Jed will forever be in my heart. He was always such a happy, loving goofy boy.
Love you always my sweet boy!
Jasmine was a healthy 6 month old kitten and as responsible pet owners, we felt it was right to take her to the vets to be spayed. We had had two female cats previously and their operations had been routine, with very few noticeable effects. However, when I picked Jasmine up on the evening after the operation, I was surprised to find that although she had been shaved along her side, the actual incision had been made at the edge of this, on the hairline; she looked very sorry for herself, very lethargic, which I assumed was due to the on-going effect of the anaesthetic. I offered Jasmine water and a light meal at home, but she was not interested and slept limply on my lap, which was most unusual for her. When my husband saw the wound later that evening, he was concerned that some of Jasmine’s hair was caught up in the stitches; working within the pharmaceutical industry he has a good knowledge of aseptic procedures and knew something was not right. Following further enquiries at the vets, we found out that Jasmine’s operation had been carried out by a locum, although I had specifically asked who would be doing it and had been told it would be one of the experienced vets at the surgery.
By lunchtime the next day, Jasmine had still not eaten and had not taken any water; I tried to offer drops on my fingers and in a dropper, but she just seemed unable to move herself enough to drink. I contacted the surgery and the receptionist suggested Jasmine might be in pain and I should pop her back for some more pain relief. The vet felt that Jasmine was probably just taking time to recover still and did not seem worried. I voiced my concerns that Jasmine had taken so little in the way of fluids and so the vet agreed to inject water under her skin to ensure she was not dehydrated, and asked that I bring her back in a few days to have the stitches checked. The vet said Jasmine had had a long term antibiotic following the operation and did not feel any other medication was necessary.
Jasmine continued to be lethargic and unwilling to eat or drink, although I was less worried as she had been injected with the water. She lay on her bed hardly able to raise her head and for most of the time did not even open her eyes. I ensured she had a quiet place to rest and continued to nurse her, monitoring her wound, which was slightly weepy, but did not appear swollen or red.
With no improvement, I returned to the surgery with Jasmine; the vet felt she should be kept in, but I was given a form to sign saying that no-one would be on site between 10pm (their last checking time) and 8 the next morning. I was not happy to leave Jasmine with no-one to care for her so took her home again, spending much of the night sitting with her, ensuring her wound, which was still weeping, was kept clean as I had been instructed. With no signs of improvement, I returned to the surgery in the morning when the vet said that the wound was showing signs of infection and some tissue was necrotic, so they would need to open Jasmine up again to clean the wound out from the inside. In less than a week, Jasmine underwent this second operation, the dead skin was removed, the site cleaned up and a drain inserted. Jasmine was kept in for observations as the vet had concerns about her being at home with the drain in. After a couple of days, the drain was removed and the wound was left open to heal; I took her home and had to ensure the wound was cleaned, which upset Jasmine a great deal. I found this difficult to do, not knowing whether I was being thorough enough or whether I was causing Jasmine more pain. Again, I spent the next few nights tending to her at regular intervals every few hours. The vet took a swab from the wound to be sent for analysis.
Jasmine failed to make a good recovery; she continued to lay motionless with her eyes closed. Very occasionally, she would get up to pad on a sheepskin rug, which seemed to give her some comfort, and I would sit for hours with her on my lap ensuring she was warm and loved. Again, she was still not eating or drinking and I had to take her for a second injection of water.
Although the swab results had not yet come back, the next vet I saw decided to give Jasmine Antirobe tablets, which I was to start straight away, although this was difficult as Jasmine was refusing food or water; however, the first evening, I managed to get her to have at least half a dose and the next day she managed a full dose. Finally, the results came back and I was horrified to hear that Jasmine had MRSA; I had no idea that pets could catch this and felt that as she was so poorly, she was unlikely to recover, although the vet said the prognosis was good.
At this point, my husband and I searched the internet for more information and happened upon the Bella Moss Foundation (BMF). Although late in the evening, my husband phoned Jill (founder of the BMF) on the off-chance we might be able to get some more information. Jill answered immediately, despite the time of day and was both reassuring and positive. By amazing coincidence, Jill was hosting a conference the next day and was meeting with the UKs top MRSA experts. She arranged for one of the speakers to contact our vet directly to ensure he had all the information he needed to treat Jasmine and, as a further coincidence, this person was already an acquaintance of our vet. Everything seemed to be on Jasmine’s side at last.
The next day, continuing with the Antirobe, it was amazing to see the recovery Jasmine began to make. She became more alert, moved around, wanted to eat and drink, and we were able to persuade her to take the rest of her tablets.
Our vet professed his ignorance of MRSA, saying he always considered it was someone else’s problem. However, he was open to reading the information we passed to him from the BMF, and obviously had talked with the vet who was speaking at the conference. A few days later, we met with him to discuss what he had put in place since finding out that Jasmine had contracted MRSA. He had already arranged for new cleaners on the site, with an initial deep clean followed by updated procedures to ensure hygiene standards were appropriate, alongside further training for staff.
Jill provided us with so much help at a time of desperation; I was tired and worn down nursing Jasmine night and day and trying to manage my job as a teacher, and felt that there was little hope for Jasmine when she was first diagnosed. However, Jill was in constant touch at a time when reassurance was much needed. Without Jill’s knowledge and her contacts, our vet may not have been assured that Antirobe was the correct medication for Jasmine and the outcome may have been very different.
Today, Jasmine is a beautiful and lively young cat. She enjoys the comforts of home and goes outside only occasionally and preferably only when the sun is shining; she likes nothing better than snuggling up somewhere very warm, a favourite place being on top of our aquarium where the lighting provides her with ‘underfloor’ heating. However, because of all the pain she suffered, Jasmine has tended to shy away from cuddles and close contact, although gradually - very slowly - we are winning her trust back, especially when we have treats to offer her!
Whilst we will never know where or how Jasmine contracted MRSA, we have stayed at the same vet’s surgery despite everything that happened. We are confident that our vet is now well aware of the risks of MRSA and knows what needs to be in place to minimise the risk of infection because of the intervention of the Bella Moss Foundation. I would urge that should your pet need an operation, you first read the information on the BMF website and ask your vet questions to find out who will be carrying out the operation, what awareness the surgery has regarding MRSA and what procedures are in place to ensure the risks of infection are minimised, eg wearing of gloves and mask, effective cleaning routines and regular site testing for microbiological contamination.
Simply saying ‘Thank you’ to Jill will never seem enough; I am only sorry that Jill had to go through such an horrendous ordeal with her own beloved pet and received so little support, but am so thankful that she had the strength to move forward, determined to make a difference, which she has. We are very lucky to have a beautiful and healthy cat today because of Jill.
Loki got a resistant pseudomonas infection during surgery, which was worse than MRSP. He had a fever and was crying in pain. Bumps on his incision reappeared after the second infection was treated. I consulted the recommended Doctors that The Bella Moss Foundation provided. Lesson I learned here is that if your dog has skin issues or other health issues which could weaken the immune system, you're taking a gamble with any invasive surgery. I think metal plates ( TPLO) in the legs are really over kill for a dog Lokis age.
I've been researching that surgery and it seems it's a newer surgery a lot of vets are pushing because it's a money maker. If I had gotten him the regular ACL surgery, it would have been much less invasive, much cheaper, less risky, and probably just as effective. So I guess that could be helpful to anyone trying to decide between TPLO and regular lateral suture repair/fishing wire technique for ACL surgery. I'd have definitely gone with the regular suture repair. I think the TPLO/metal plates might be good in a younger, very large dog that has absolutely no health/skin/immune issues.
A young large healthy dog might be the only animal I see benefiting from this surgery.
Chrystal Grace USA
This is a story about a little min-pin named Princess, her blessed owner Patty, and the friends they met along their journey, the Bella Moss foundation, which, without them, our story may have ended quite differently.
Princess and I started our journey together back in September 2000. I rescued her from an animal shelter in Las Vegas along with her brother, Lucky, who lives with my granddaughter Jessica. She was 6 weeks old, and so our story began.
Princess has had many issues, born with a heart mummer, endured bladder problems in 2005, a accident in 2008 which left permanent nerve damage in her right leg along with arthritis, was diagnosed with diabetes in September of 2011, and went blind in December 2011.
She is quite the trooper, and has taken everything in stride with a can do attitude and the heart to carry on. The biggest challenge Princess and I have faced is MRSA.
In January 2012 I discovered a few sores on her side and belly. I had taken her to the Vet for a routine check up a few weeks earlier. We were trying to get her diabetes under control, and had also discovered she had a bladder infection. After running a culture for her bladder infection, which took over a week, the Vet told me not to worry about the sores. She had looked at them under the micro-scope and found bacteria, nothing serious, and we were sent home with some antibiotics, and was told that they would take care of the bladder infection, and the bacteria. Nothing to worry about, and it was a remote chance it could be anything serious.
The sores continued to get worse and spread. They were so severe now, on her genitals, anus, bottoms of her feet, and stomach and in her mouth. At one time I feared the bacteria had spread to her lungs as she had mucus in her nose, and was breathing deeply. She could barely walk, and any kind of bowel movement was so painful for her. She spent most of her time just lying around the house on her bed, and my heart was aching for her.
After a few weeks on the antibiotics, it was pretty clear; she needed a biopsy and a culture. Something we should have done in the beginning, but thought, the sores would clear up. I was told that it was a remote chance that it could be something serious, but we could wait a few weeks until the antibiotics were finished and see. It was 3 weeks later before the biopsy was sent in for a culture. It came back positive for MRSA.
I was fed up with not doing anything for her, so I started to do research on the web for MRSA. That’s when I found the Bella Moss foundation.
I wrote to Jill, desperate for some answers, and couldn’t believe it when she called me the next day from London. I became familiar with her story about Bella, and their journey with MRSA and why she started the Foundation. She encouraged me to have my vet (now the 3rd one) to contact Dr. Weese the Bella Moss USA vet advisor. I called him immediately, and sent him the
information. It was a week-end, so it took a few days for Dr. Fonts (my vet) and Dr. Weese (BMF advisor) to communicate.
We started a daily bath routine for Princess with and put her on a different antibiotic for 6 weeks. I was told that it was an older antibiotic which was used mostly on cattle, and had been successful in treating MRSA. It was listed on the Culture as sensitive to her strain of MRSA. However, humans are also sensitive to it, and I had to wear gloves while handling it.
I started communicating more with Jill, and she was so kind. She sent out an e-mail blast, and I received so many heartfelt e-mails from other owners, so many kind people trying to help us. They sent information, wrote personal letters, and just inquired about Princess.
It was breaking my heart to see princess suffer so much, and still fighting to survive... She was so helpless and I worried about the other dogs or me catching the bacteria. From what I had read on the internet, MRSA is no joke. I prayed and talked to my vet and wondered when this night mare would ever end. We decided to do another biopsy to check for cancer, as the sores were so huge on her stomach. They results came back negative. I was not given much hope, and was told that MRSA was very hard to treat, and usually returned. Princess is diabetic, so the antibiotics were having a hard time reaching the areas on her skin where the infection was spreading. I spent many hours wondering if I should just let her go and get her out of her misery. I just didn’t know what to do.
Through it all, Jill Moss and the wonderful members of the Bella Moss foundation, where there for us, writing, calling, trying to help.
The baths, extra laundry, trying to kept our home disinfected, isolating her from the other dogs, educating myself, e-mails, pre-paring her food, medicating her sores, wearing gloves when I touch her, giving her medicine 2 to 3 times a day, scheduling her meals and insulin shots, guiding her, watching her struggle and bump into things (due to her blindness) and all the financial issues. But through it all Princess is fighting the battle.
I couldn’t have made it through all this without my faith in Jesus, my friends, Dr. Fontes, Dr. Brandt, and the Bella Moss foundation and their friends.
I believe God gave us animals to teach us about ourselves. How to love unconditionally, receive and give respect, kindness, kisses, joy, and acceptance. To me, animals are the true hero’s along our journey called LIFE. What would we do without them?
Since writing this, Princess has passed away. We had to go on a trip for family, and a very good friend of ours was taking care of Princess.
The day before we were to arrive home, Princess went into diabetic shock. When I picked her up from the vet, she was covered in brown clumpy sticky material. It had something to do with the sugar coming out of her body. Her eyes told me that she was tired and wanted to go home to the Rainbow Bridge. We took her home and I held her and cried for days.
On May 19th 2012, in a candle lite room, with flowers from our yard, the smell of lavender, and soft music, we let her slip away from us and find the peace she so desired. We had her cremated and she is home with us now. It’s hard without her, but she is remembered with love and the understanding that we will be together again someday.
My Coton de Tulear, Emmy, was age 3 when she became very ill from repeated antibiotic treatments for alleged urinary tract infections (including MRSA). It was only after an emergency veterinary hospitalization for a reaction to a new antibiotic, that it was decided to perform a cystoscopy. The cystoscopy found NO urinary tract infection whatsoever. In fact, the emergency hospital vet indicated that there must have been a lab error since Emmy's procedure was performed under sterile technique and showed no infection with the sterile cystoscopy culture nor any visible urinary tract irritation/symptomology.
After the vet hospital notified my regular veterinarian, I, too, contacted him to discuss the new findings and asked how his practice handled the urine samples which I provided in sterile containers. He informed that me that it was transferred to another container by a vet technician. Clearly, there was a breach with the transfer to another specimen container. (He did not state whether that container was sterile).
After having been told that Emmy had MRSA from a lab report, which was subsequently proven to be in error, I was devastated that Emmy suffered needlessly from the numerous side effects of antibiotic treatments for a year, including the impact on her immune system.
I urge all pet owners who have been told their pet has repeated UTIs to obtain a CYSTOSCOPY to verify this diagnosis. In addition, always inquire as to the protocol chain for the collection of urine samples utilized by their vet's facility.
I was blessed that Emmy did not have MRSA, however, it took a long time for her immune system to recover from the effects of unnecessary, long term antibiotic therapy. I am so grateful to the Bella Moss Foundation for their advice and support.
Janie Russell USA
Winner of the Most Amazing Pet Recovery Story Competition 2013
This is Roxy Rascal, a 12 year old rescue and former Pets as Therapy dog…..
Not only has Roxy overcome adversity from a being neglected stray, she’s had two major surgeries to remove cancerous tumours.
The first operation in February 2012 in her rear, right leg, required a skin flap to cover the defect left by the tumour removal, she had almost 20 stitches. Sadly, she developed another tumour in her front, left shoulder, this time the tumour was deeper.
The second operation was in February this year. This time she had to have a skin graft due to the location, size and deepness of the tumour. She had around 80 staples and stitches and was in the Glasgow Vet School for almost a week on a drip as she wasn’t eating or drinking and was quite ill. I went to visit her during this time and she looked desolate.
Unfortunately, part of the wound became necrotic and had to be cut away, dressed daily and treated with high strength anti-biotics. It took 5 weeks for the wound to fully healed.
Amazingly, both times, tests proved that the cancer had not spread to anywhere else which was a huge relief. The wonderful vets, nurses and support staff at the GUVS looked after Roxy incredibly well and are amazed and how well she is doing and that she has beaten cancer not once, but twice. She is a very brave dog indeed.
Thank you for reading Roxy’s story, I hope she is considered for the competition as she is an amazing dog and an inspiration to everyone she meets.
Nicola and Roxy.
Roxy was the first winner
Thanks to Bella Moss Foundation I'm feeling much better, I had a serious infection in my ear and bladder but my friends at the Bella Moss Foundation got their vets to talk to my vet and thank you so much
We have a very special and sweet golden retriever male dog named Bud. Bud is the only puppy that I have not rescued but picked out of a litter. Actually he was the one who picked us as we remember it! He came home with us at seven weeks old. He filled the emptiness in our home after we had lost a young golden to cancer. I often refer to him as “saint” Bud because he really is just the best. He is deeply loved by myself, husband and young children. He is an integral part of our family in every way.
Bud had just turned 7 years of age when we took him to the veternarian due some sensitivity in his hip and a slight limp in his left hind leg. After looking at the X-rays it was discovered that he had hip dysplasia. The hip was almost out of the joint and it had chipped his pelvis. We live in a rural state so our local vet referred us to an orthopedic specialist surgeon in another state and larger city. Phone calls were made. X-rays and information were exchanged. A total hip replacement surgery was discussed.
Almost a month later, Bud travelled 5 hours for his first clinical visit and possible surgery. Upon examination and digital X-rays, the orthopedic specialist surgeon felt that Bud would benefit from and be a good candidate for the total hip replacement. The surgery happened the next day and went wonderfully! A full recovery was expected. However, two days later when Bud was to be released from ICU, his femur shattered! He was rushed into emergency surgery. The new hip was removed and the femur wired back together. Bud spent four more days in ICU with 24 hour care. We were given pain, antibiotic and anti inflammatory medicines. We travelled the long drive home.
The second week, Bud was to have his staples removed and a quick orthopedic exam here with our local vet. That week, he stopped using the hind leg. X-rays were taken and it showed that the femur had not shifted and everything was intact. We were given more pain medicine and asked to encourage Bud to use the leg more.
The fifth week, Bud travelled to the surgeon again. He examined Bud and was happy with his progress and recovery. We were told to continue on the same path of pain medicine and short leash walks.
The eleventh week, Bud travelled again. Upon examination, the surgeon was immediately concerned that Bud was not further along in his recovery and mobility. X-rays were taken and it was determined that Bud had another femur fracture further in the bone. It was decided that the bone could not be repaired and the hind left limb should be amputated.
The amputation took hours longer than expected. We were informed by the surgeon that the leg was full of scar tissue and infection. The infection had caused the second fracture in the femur. The surgeon took a culture sample of the infection. Bud spent another two days in ICU and we returned home with our tripawd. It was difficult travel and then care for Bud in those first few days. I had to isolate him to limit activity, lift him, walk him with a sling and give his medicines every eight hours. Bud seemed to be happier and in less pain, well at least at first he did!
The culture was grown for five days. We were notified by the orthopedic specialist surgeon that it had tested positive for drug resilient MRSA. The antibiotic most effective for treatment Baytril 136 was prescribed. Apparently , there were only four antibiotics that showed some resistance to the MRSA. We were given a three week dose and reassured that because the source of the infection, the femur was gone, this would be an effective treatment.
I knew that MRSA can be fatal so I started looking for resources to refer too. I ended up contacting the Bella Moss foundation at http://www.bellamossfoundation.comThe site has a Q&A page with many topics including what MRSA is, how it is transmitted, how it is treated and etc. Bella was a beautiful “white ball of fluff” that died a very tragic death due to MRSA and the lack of information regarding the infection. The foundation does all kinds of wonderful work such as financing research and educating pet owners and medical professionals. I went to the support center and filled out a questionnaire. Jill Moss, the founder, personally contacted me right away. She sent articles she thought would be helpful, contact info for other people with MRSA dogs and forwarded my questions to a vet friend who specializes in MRSA. However sadly, I did find out that there is very little literature about MRSA bone infection in animals.
Because of the MRSA, our local vet placed Bud on two more weeks of Baytril. The infection continued to spread within the first week. Bud lost a lot of hair. There was a blackening and browning of the skin, scabs and pus. The area went from the original spot next to hip, all of the way up to his spine and down to his tail. Luckily, Bud never did have a fever or show other signs of being ill. Buds’s infection became resistant to Baytril and our vet was really concerned. Months into Bud’s recovery, he fell and injured his remaining knee. I was afraid he had a tear in his ACL. After the initial exam, the vet thought so too. He explained to me that because of the MRSA, Bud would not be a candidate for surgery. He did not want to introduce hardware and bacteria into Bud. He was fearful that there may be a free floating MRSA cell that would attach itself to the hardware as before and this time the hardware could not be removed. Bud would have to live in a knee brace and on pain medicines. In my heart, I knew this was not an option for us. No more pain for Bud! Euthanasia was a possible solution for us. I cried and waited. We were blessed that day! Upon further examination and X-rays it was determined that there was only some stretching and swelling.
Sadly, I have come to the conclusion that MRSA will always be a concern in Bud’s recovery and treatment. It is not just the three week ordeal that the place he acquired it from, said it would be. I decided to continue to fight bravely, finding comfort and joy in spending each day while hoping for each tomorrow!
It is now 10 months since this journey began. Bud has returned to doing most all of the things he enjoys. He plays with his kids, chases balls, swims in the lake and enjoys being a dog. He is a bit more spoiled and somewhat pampered. The surgery and amputation sites have healed. The skin has healed. His fur has returned even though it is somewhat patchy. Presently there are no signs of infection, anywhere.
Should I have not assumed we would be part of that successful 98 percent? Yes! Is there guilt? Yes! Are there things I would do differently if I could? Yes! Do I wish I would have been more knowledgeable and a better advocate for my pet? Yes! Was this experience hard and hurtful to all of us involved? Yes!
However Bud is still on the journey! Now he hops down the path on three legs instead of limping on four.
Our 8 year oild cocker spaniel Jasper has never had anything wrong with him. However, this March he developed sore and broken skin inbetween his paw pads and became quite irrtiable with it. As his lymph glands were swollen and he became 'unwell' the vet decided to take skin swabs for testing. A week later the results showed he had MRSA. He was swiftly put on medication and we swiftly became hermits! The vet advised us of the risks of Japser being near young children, the elderly and the diabetic or anyone with a low immune system and if us as a family had an open skin wound to dress it and to never touch Jasper. Jasper and I became soulmates as I was the only one who could stroke and handle him. My 10 year old son could not have friends to play. When we went out we had to change our clothes. We lived in the MRSA house! After having a heart to heart with my vet about the situation he suggested I looked at the Bella Moss website. I got in touch with them and they instantly became my friend and felt like I was one of them as this illness is so rare in the UK dog world. After 6 weeks Jasper had 2 more tests that showed that the MRSA had gone. We reacted quickly to Jasper's paws and that saved the MRSA spreading to his internal organs. We will never know how he got it and we will never dwell on it but we will have the cleanest hands in the UK because of it!
In some cases its manageable and beatable and hopefully in time to come be more acceptable in our society as an infection that needs addressing..
Thanks to the Beech House Vets who are up on the game.
My dog Kaylee was attacked by another dog, and contracted MRSA through her open wounds. Our vets were doing all they could, but the infection was too strong. I looked up information and the Bella Moss Foundation came up in the search. I contacted Jill Moss and she put our vet here in Las Vegas in touch with BMF clinical advisors in the USA
Kaylee was on her death bed, and recommendations to put her down were being made. It was the constant communication with Bella Moss Foundation that gave Kaylee a chance at living. Kaylee went from being in isolation, hooked up to IV's, not being able to move with little chance of survival, to being at home, safe with her family. This is Kaylee's first week off of her medications, we will see if her body is strong enough to fight. Kaylee has never given up on us and thanks to our friends at the Bella Moss Foundation we found the resources to not give up. My family is forever grateful to BMF that Kaylee was blessed by their help and we all hold Bella (Jill’s beautiful Samoyed) forever close to our heart’s.
Thank you for saving our best friend and family member Kaylee.
18 months ago my beautiful black Labrador Brooke became ill with a cough and a massive ear infection. The ear infection responded to treatment BUT the cough never cleared. My vets treated for months with different antibiotics and whilst we would sometimes see some improvement it never cleared.
Their diagnosis was pseudomonas. She was becoming more ill with the months passing by.
Life awful knew I had a sick dog and not being able to help her. I was starting to come to the conclusion I was going to lose her. Then one day I was ripping up the dog world newspaper for the fire and saw an article from months before on MRSA in dogs. I read this and was shocked at the similarities. That day I contacted Jill at the Bella Moss foundation and that is when I found some hope. That dark tunnel we had been in for months suddenly had light at the end of it and I knew that it was possible to save Brooke.
Jill knew what the pain of living with a seriously ill dog was like. Jill offered me support and for my vet BMF veterinary advisors contacts. I was no longer alone in my fight to save Brooke's life.
At this time I had lost faith in my vets, all of the vets had given up on Brooke and I knew that I alone could not save Brooke. Just one phone call and I had found someone who cared and could help!
The next few weeks I tried to get my vets to look at the website and to read information, but they weren't interested. I tried to find a new vet but every time I mentioned pseudomonas they would say they “We will get back to you” but then refuse to take Brooke for fear on contamination.
In the end I contacted my old vet in Devon to try to get help. With Jeremy and the help of vets in Bristol we treated Brooke for lung worm (something my vet had failed to even mention). Within hours Brooke was bringing up rivers of mucus off of her chest when she coughed and with each lot her breathing became easier and she became more her old self.
In the meantime I had also had a consultation with Richard Allport and homeopathic remedies were prescribed and these helped and continue to do so. Brooke has never fully recovered from illness as she now has permanent lung damage and she will never be 100% fit. If it wasn't for Richard Allport and the Bella Moss Foundation, Brooke would have died in August 2010 when she got a massive chest infection.
I so wish I had found Jill earlier. Brooke survived the last 18 months due to that phone call I made to the Foundation. From the devastating death of Jill's own dog Bella, she has gone on to save the lives of so many pets. Bella lives on in each and every one of them. Thank you Jill, from the bottom of my heart for all that you do.
My story is how the Bella Moss foundation really touched my life and saved my best friends life. I had come to the end of the road with my dog dusty. She has had a hole in the side of her leg for two years that has never stopped draining. First I was told it was an abscess and was drained, it came back. Then I was told it was cancer, it came back negative. Then I was informed it was scar tissue and was removed, still drained. Then I was informed it would stop draining and heal on its own if the skin on her side was completely removed, the skin healed but the draining persisted. Later I was told it was a bacterium that was killing her slowly and she would die in a couple of months, the culture came back with no bacterial growth. Everyone for two years now has told me to give up, put her to sleep, let it go, she will be fine, it’s just an animal, there’s no hope and everything else you can imagine. I couldn’t give up, the love I have for Dusty my dog is worth everything to me even though I sacrificed much emotionally. I had taken her to so many doctors for help including fifteen surgeries along the way. When I came across the Bella Moss website it truly caught my eye because I had found someone that expressed the same love and determination for her animal as me. I read her story and was so motivated to keep searching for the answer to my dog’s problem. I got in contact with Jill and my journey to saving Dusty’s life had begun. I was immediately comforted in knowing that there was still hope out there for Dusty. And not to give up just yet. Jill truly is a person that cares and knows what us animal lovers go through. She immediately put me in contact with vets from different parts of the world and helped me every step of the way. These vets were incredible and pointed me in the right direction for Dusty. After two years of an ongoing emotional rollercoaster I had found my stop. I was directed by expert vets which way to go and I took her to a vet in the United States that understood what was going on and fixed Dusty. This complicated problem turned out to be the simplest mistake. When Dusty was spayed two years ago she was left with undissolvable stitched in her stomach. All along her body has been trying to get rid of them by rejecting them out of her leg. Once they were removed along with lots of scar tissue inside, she was as good as new. I’m so thankful that I found the Bella Moss foundation and I know if Dusty could talk she would say the same. Jill and her foundation saved Dust’s life. Thank you Jill so much for all of your time and hard work. I know I speak for all the ones you have helped out there. You will never know how much you mean to Dusty and I.
I would like to say a Huge THANK YOU to the Bella Moss Foundation and especially Jill for her help with my cat Felix. The foundation is so helpful and pointed my vets in the right direction to diagnosing Felix's Condition and also treatment needed, without the Bella Moss Foundation I doubt that Felix would be here now.
Felix is 2 years old and on New Years eve 2009 knocked a glass off of the side and cut his leg on a pieces of glass cutting his tendon and a major vein in his foot. He was rushed to an out of hours surgery for treatment where he needed an operation to mend the tendon and to stop the bleeding in his foot. This all went well and he was released the next day. Over the next couple of weeks Felix developed sores over his leg due to the bandages rubbing on his skin, these were really red and he was put onto anti biotics and the splint taken away but he was still bandaged. Felix had to go to the vets every couple of days to have the wounds washed and re dressed. After about 3 months of re dressing the wound the vets decided to take off the cast as his sores were getting worse and spreading on his leg. Once the bandages were taken off Felix would often bite his leg until it bled, this looked so itchy so we took him back on numerous occasions to get this checked.
Felix was given numerous doses of anti biotics as his wounds would get infected and lots of steroids to try and stop the itching this became very regular having a steroid injection every 2 weeks as he was still biting and we needed to wash the wounds every day this went on for another 3 months at least being tested for ring worm, mites, and flees.
It was then suggested that maybe his constant itching was due to stress. At this time Felix was very tired, not like his usual bouncy self and would hardly lift his head up to say hello during the day, he was eating very little, still on anti biotics and these would often make him sick. As all else had failed he was referred to another vet for Acupuncture in October 2009 to see if this would help. By this time his legs were really bad as the pictures show. It was at this time that the vet advised to take some biopsies to check whether he had an infection
A day later he went in to have biopsies and 9 were taken from different areas around his leg. Within a couple of days the results were back, he had contracted MRSA from his open wound and this had spread into his leg. The vets were quite surprised as this was the first case that they have had at their surgery. Jill was a huge help to my vets in giving them contacts of experts and information.
Felix was put on a course of Antriobe to conbat the infection which he was on for around 3 months. He still continued to Bite during this time when another swab was taken to check if the MRSA was gone from his system in February this year he was given the all clear for MRSA but he still has contracted a itchy skin condition from this which he will have for probably the rest of his life.
I cannot fault my vets as they were not familiar with MRSA this was the last thing they thought it could be and they tried their hardest to find a solution. I would recommend that anyone with any doubt should speak to their vet and get their pet tested as soon as possible and contact the Bella Moss foundation for support.
Jill is available to talk to at anytime of the day (not sure how she does this) and is a huge help liasing with your vet and giving them support and finding a solution.
Many thanks and kind regards
Jahari contracted the canine MRSI from an overdose of an allergy shot. He was supposed to receive an increase of 1/10 of the allergy medicine and was instead injected with a 4/10 dose. Within twenty-four hours, he experienced a critical allergic reaction in December 2007, which ultimately morphed into MRSI in March of 2008. In January of 2008 he developed a raging staph infection in his ears, along with pseudomonas aeruginosa. The veterinarian who was responsible for the incorrect allergy medication dosage was not knowledgeable on how to help Jahari, causing the infection to rapidly spread to his skin. His state of health deteriorated so quickly, I feared for his life. Until this happened, Jahari was a year and a half old, 120 pounds, healthy, active, and had no past medical problems. By mid February of 2008, he was close to death.
I read about the Bella Moss Foundation in the Whole Dog Journal. I was desperate to save Jahari’s life and called Jill in the UK, who responded within hours. Jill and I spoke frequently, three or four times a week, for the next several weeks. Although she was out of the country, she was the only one who seemed to know how to deal with MRSA. I was unable to find anyone in the United States to help me, so Jill proceeded to email me information and instructions on how to care for Jahari. She also provided me with direct telephone numbers and emails to doctors and veterinary medical facilities in Canada and the United States who had experience and success in treating MRSA. Jill’s personal interest and assistance were directly responsible for not only saving Jahari’s life but also for his recovery.
As a result, Jahari fully recovered by August of 2008. I have followed all of Jill’s instructions provided by her foundation and fortunately, he has not relapsed. I would be happy to offer any help needed for owner’s in the same situation I found myself in only a few years ago. Attached are a few pictures of a healthy, happy Jahari on Christmas of 2009.
I thank you every day for what you did for Jahari and feel he wouldn't be with me if I hadn't read about your organziation.
Thanks to the Bella Moss Foundation, you’re caring and information helped us so much with our cat Luigi. When Luigi My Russian blue kitty that we got from a shelter at 7 months old developed MRSA in his left ear I was scared. One day he started shaking his head and scratching at his left ear so we took him to the vets and they cleaned it and prescribed some ear drops "Tresaderm" and cleaning with "Oticalm Solution" twice a day - after 3-4 weeks with no change the vet switched us to "Baytrill Otic" antibiotic ear drops and twice daily cleanings of his left ear with the Oticalm solution and a few weeks later still no change and all the while his ear would soil the q-tips and cotton balls with dark waxy stuff.
My wife and I had to administer (orally) "Trimethoprim" (tiny capsules) 60 ml twice a day. Luigi would spit them out, and we were getting bitten because he was closing his tiny mouth. In the end we had to take him to the vets daily. At the vets they would have a different staff member there to pill him every time we showed up in the morning and in the evening and they all had different styles of holding him.
The whole things became so traumatic for Luigi. But after three weeks and another culture the lab report came back negative for MRSA. Luckily the infection never penetrated his eardrum. Well now he's happy because no more ear drops and twice a day cleanings only gets his ear cleaned twice a week now
I suppose I should add that my wife and I take care of my mother in law and she had developed a bed sore which got worse and was hospitalized and diagnosed with MRSA and we were lightly told to wash our hands when we left her room which we did. We had no idea that MRSA was transferable from humans to pets. My experience at the vet got me very irritated as the vet had never treated MRSA before and the staff had such difficulty administering pills to luigi
We love Luigi as he is our only companion. We thank god for the Bella Moss Foundation and your contributions to helping our luigi.
I am so grateful to Jill Moss and Lori Spagnoli for all the information and comfort they gave me during the nine month fight we had with MRSI. Our English Bulldog Max had MRSI in his bone after surgery for an ACL tear . I designed the sling to carry him up and down the steps. We were very aware that you need to be very careful and keep the wound clean and make sure his blanket he laid on after the surgery was clean, and we used bleach on all of his bedding when he came home. We were not aware that Max just had an overabundance of staph on his skin and we had no knowledge of MRSI at all! Max had already got staph in the surgical site, and it just began to grow and congregate on all the metal implants they put in his leg to repair it. Max was on antibiotics, but of course, they were not the right ones. After a total of five surgeries to remove all the screws, wires, plates from his leg and many cultures of his leg tissue and the implants they removed, Max recovered. I know that MRSI is different from MRSA, but Max's condition was so bad at one point he had lost almost 30 pounds and they were almost to the point of removing his leg. He was on crate rest for almost 9 months and he became very aggressive when we tried to put him in the crate, so our vet kept him for 42 days after he bit me very badly..of course we visited him every single day. My vet, is a wonderful vet, but like most vets, he's not an expert on MRSA nor MRSI.
Jill Moss and several of her experts spoke with my vet and advised him on how he could treat Max. If my vet had not been open to contacting the experts, we may have had a totally different outcome, so thanks to my vet also! With the help of Jill and her experts, my vet saved Max's life and his leg. Since Max's long illness, he still has had some issues with aggression, and I contacted Jill again to see if maybe she had heard of the long-term use of the antibiotics causing a change like that, and once again, she contacted her experts and the drug companies for me to see if they had ever had a side-effect like that. Jill is in the UK and Lori is in the USA and I speak quite often with both of them about Max and the problems we are still having. I will always be grateful to both of these ladies, their experts and the foundation as a whole, for caring and working hard to prevent any animals from having to go through what Bella went through, and for educating all the vets and vet techs possible about MRSA (and MRSI). Max and I would not have made it through the past year without them!
This is a picture of Ink and Spot, they are brothers. Sadly, Ink passed away August of 2009 after being misdiagnosed by numerous vets. I had not heard of the Bella Moss foundation until after he passed. He developed an oozing sore on his belly that vet after vet tried to tell me was "flea allergy". Cultures came back positive for staph aureus, but it never went away. After a year of numerous vet visits with specialists, and an oozing sore, he developed a lump in his leg and died 2 months later. He was never diagnosed as having MRSA, but they also dont know what was wrong. The next month, I noticed a huge lump on his brother's neck. Spot went in for surgery and it was a very rare cancer that no vet has seen in cats. He developed a rash on his belly, and I went into a panic and contacted The Bella Moss Foundation. They were so quick to respond and offer me assistance. Luckily, his rash went away, and he's okay today. I was really touched at how The Bella Moss Foundation responded, and only wish I found out about them before my cat Ink died.
Duchess was spayed and micro-chipped. Things went well until one day we noticed a dimed size spot that was bleeding and pussing around the area where dogs usually get microchipped. We just figured it was from the needle puncturing the skin and it was healing. Anyway, each day it grew and became worse. Emergency surgery was performed and a sample of the infected area taken for testing. The next day the results came back and it was diagnosed as a bacterial infection. (see pictures before, during and after). Duchess spent the night in observation and the skin was sent for testing. 45 stitches, 10 staples and 2 tubes later the results came back and it was in fact a bacterial infection BUT there was also something present in the results that they couldnt yet determine. It was MRSI; We knew nothing about this and found out about The Bella Moss Foundation who advised us and were of great support. No one really knew of anyone speficially who treated an animal with this disease and it was concerning to us because the whole time it never phased our Duchess. Yes the medications, the sleeping next to her at night (to make sure the tubes and stitches stayed in), the constant 24 hour attention, the daily trips to the emergency vet was quite the ordeal, but everyone was terrified of the unknown. Jill Moss got one of her international vet experts to speak with our vet and his name is Dr Andrew Hillier (Ohio state university) We attribute our emergency vets and Dr. Hillier to the recovery and treatment of Duchess. Just the resources that were provided and the attention she received will never go un-noticed. We understand MRSI/MRSA much more now and realize of how fatal it can be if detected in the vital areas. Our hope is that this will be the last time we have to deal with it, but now prevention and precaution are at the fore-front of our concerns.