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Sue and Phil Purver (Hertfordshire) – Maple

Maple our beautiful bouncing boxer went in for a TPLO operation on 19th July 2006. We were not at all worried about it as she had gone through the same operation a couple of years before for her other leg. That operation was a total success, this one was not!!

She came home two days after her TPLO weight bearing and looking pretty healthy, but three days later her leg became very swollen very quickly and I took her straight back to the veterinary specialists. She was immediately put onto a course of antibiotics and there she stayed for over a week while the vets waited for the swab results. It came back MRSA positive! I was horrified – it had not crossed my mind that she would have such a frightening bug. In total panic I went onto the internet and there I found The Bella Moss Foundation, Jill emailed me back almost immediately, what a relief it was to find such a wonderfully informed person who was able to give much more reassurance that the vets had been able to for fear of reprisals if all went wrong. Luckily the vets had put Maple onto the correct intravenous antibiotic immediately, and then on confirmation of the MRSA they implanted antibiotic beads into the infected area, and tapped her knee joint to check that was clear – it was. These were in place for 10 days during which Maple was in isolation and not able to come home as the wound was weeping.

We did not see her for the first 10 days as every day I thought she would be coming home but upon confirmation of the MRSA we needed to see her. What a shock we had, she had dropped an enormous amount of weight and although very pleased to see us she was very poorly. We really thought that we would lose her. The vets were becoming increasingly worried about her lack of weight bearing on the leg and tapped her knee again 10 days after the previous tapping. The MRSA had invaded her knee joint! Another operation was needed to implant yet another string of beads. She stayed in for another 10 days, we went to see her every other day, but I felt this was only upsetting her even more so we stopped going. The wounds finally healed up and she came home for almost two weeks, we knew that the beads needed to be removed and were dreading her going back in, she had them removed and she came home the next day, only to go back two days later when the second wound erupted again. The MRSA was still in the knee joint, she underwent yet another operation to implant yet more beads into the joint, this time they left the wound open to drain fully. Three weeks later she was still in isolation and the wound was still weeping, but by now the discharge was clear – it was the joint fluid preventing the knee capsule from healing up. So yet again she had another operation to stitch up the hole. Eventually the wound stopped weeping and she came home. She had been in for a month this time.

In total Maple was in hospital in isolation for 10 weeks barring the two weeks she came home in the middle. It has been the most emotional and worrying summer for all of us, but Jill and Mark were there for us for the entire time, constantly reassuring us that Maple would be OK as the infection had been caught so early. They were right. Maple is back to normal with a slight limp and a lack of muscle, but both should improve over time. We now live with the threat that the plate from the original TPLO operation (which is still in her leg) could flare up at any time, so we are being vigilant. Out vets admitted that Maple had had the most persistent case of MRSA that they had even experienced.

I hope that Maple’s story will give hope and reassurance to anybody who’s pet is suffering with MRSA, it can be beaten! Keep up the good work, Jill; you are an inspiration to us all. Thank you.


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