Could Your Dog Be Susceptible to This Germ?

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Many of us have read about Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA).  This pathogen (germ) is very difficult to treat because it is resistant to most antibiotics.  In animals, there is a cousin to MRSA called Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Pseudintermedius (MRSP).  According to the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, 2011, “MRSP has emerged as a significant animal health problem in veterinary medicine.” Could your dog be susceptible to this germ?

I asked my Papa to write about this topic, not just because I don’t have opposable thumbs, but also because he is such a dweeb that if he wrote the story, he would write it in an analytical and scientific style and bore us to death.  While he does get to speak some “dweeb” in the article, I will keep his input to a minimum.   

The Diagnosis

Last month, my veterinarian sent me to a doggie dermatologist because a bacterial susceptibility profile determined that my owies had MRSP.  I have no idea what methicillin is, but I was given two pills that Papa put in pill pockets so that I will take them.  He tells me that I was taking an anti-fungal medication and Clindamycin to fight the owies.  After 30 days, the owies (called pyoderma) did not clear up.  Papa was very worried.  He is a nursing student (going back to school at age 50 to get his B.S.N.) and he is quite aware of the effects of infections and their dangers.  “What do we do now?” he asked.  Papa and I lay down on our favorite couch and I napped next to him while he found out what can be done. 

Papa says that according to Worms and Germs Blog, 2011 Staphylococcus Pseudintermedius is found on the skin, nose, mouth and/or the intestinal tract of 50% of dogs that are otherwise healthy.   MRSP is resistant to many antibiotics and in my situation, resistant to all antibiotics (short of vancomycin).  Since I don’t have a systemic infection (inside my body) and I am a dog and not a human, use of stronger antibiotics like vancomycin, is “controversial due to the risk for development of resistance against” these antibiotics and perhaps put humans at risk (van Duijkeren, Boudewijn, Greko, Moreno, Pomba, Pyorala & Scientific Advisory Group on Antimicrobials (SAGAM), 2011).cocker spaniel

At first, Papa and I were quite nervous about my condition.  Papa is also worried about me going to Rainbow Bridge because of this condition.  However, after several hours of Papa’s research and several hours of me napping, we learned several things that can be helpful for me.

Treatment

Papa was given instructions by the dermatologist to use Ketochlor on me every other day and to use chlorhexidine on my skin during the days in between.  He is also learning to groom me to keep my hair short.  With help from the groomer, who shaved me with a number-10 blade and the vet, who showed papa how to safely use a number-40 blade, Papa can now easily get to my itchies and owies. 

Perhaps the most important thing is for you pet owners to wash your hands after you pet me or any other dog.   Secondly, don’t touch my owies directly and if you do, wash your hands with soap and water or hand gel if soap and water is not handy.  When treating my owies, papa practices wound care by washing his hands, putting on gloves, cleaning my owies and then takes off his gloves and washes his hands again.  Do the same if you are taking care of your dog’s owies and make sure that your veterinarian does the same.  Don’t be afraid to demand that your vet washes their hands, in front of you in the examination room before examining your pet.   

What else does Papa do to help me?  He will put a cone on my head and also covers me in silly dog clothes to keep me from directly licking or scratching.  He communicates with the groomer, vet and others that work with animals about my condition and explains the need to clean everything.  MRSP is susceptible to most disinfectants used in the home if the surfaces are properly cleaned first (MRSP for pet owners, 2011). 

Now What

It appears that MRSP, in my case, may not cause an early departure for Rainbow Bridge.  With good, diligent bathing and wound care, papa has at least stopped the itching so that I don’t give the itchies and owies undue attention.  He is also giving me Immugen, Cod Liver Oil to help with possible immune system issues that can cause me to be susceptible.  He is also looking into alternative methods of care including using colloidal silver on my owies. 

The road ahead is uncertain for me.  I will need a lot of care and attention.  But I know that Papa has done a lot of reading to determine how to best take care of me.  Below are a few links to websites that papa found useful.  

Worms and Germs Blog

WebMD Pet Health Community – http://forums.webmd.com/3/pet-health-exchange/forum/4899

About the author:  I am Sebastien, a 10-year-old brown Cocker Spaniel with a white chest, who lives in Wisconsin.  I was born in January 2002 to CH Tebreez Seldom So Cool (Duncan) and Caralee’s Angel in Paradise (Carrie).  I love chasing tennis balls, swimming in the lakes in northern Wisconsin and rolling on dead bass.

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Comments

  1. That is so scary…i knew about MRSA but did not realize there was a canine version…Sounds like you’re getting the best of care…Good luck!

    • Sebastien says:

      Hey Gizmo, the canine version can make me feel quite irritable. The baths I get, along with the chlorhexidine on my owies, help keep things in check. The owies I had when this article was originally written have cleared up as a result of papa bathing and grooming me. However, papa discovered a couple of spots on a leg recently and is clearing those up now.

      P.S. Don’t tell papa, but even though I act all scared before he gets me in the tub, I like the bristles from the glove he uses as it goes over my skin. I do little doggie grunts the whole time.

  2. Oh I hope feel better! Thank your pa for the article. I have been worried since my BFF got a lot of owies too. Thanks for Sharing.
    Maggie

    • Sebastien says:

      Hello Maggie, Sorry to read about your BFF. I hope he or she is getting better. I just got done with my bath this evening and am watching papa study. The baths make a difference on my skin and help keep me comfortable.

  3. My Sampson had a bit of a skin issue (was not diagnosed as this) but it was an infection that didn’t go away. After clearing it up with antibiotic the vet put him on Welactin and that has helped tremendously. Keeping our paws crossed for you!

    • Sebastien says:

      Hey Jodi, Thank you for commenting and sharing the fact that your Sampson is taking Welactin. Welactin was one of the options my vet gave me to take (Immugen is what I am currently taking).

      BTW, my predecessor’s name was Sampson. If you would, make sure that Sampson gets and extra treat this evening.

  4. How scary! Thanks for the very informative article. Our mom has us “in training” to be Therapy Dogs. One of the things we learned before we started visiting facilities is that the human MRSA *can* be transmitted to us K9s! We’ll tell Momma to keep learning more and to do her best to keep us safe while we help folks smile on those visits. Nubbie wags – Indie and Bennett, the Cocker Spaniels of Santee.

    • Sebastien says:

      Nubbie wags to you, Indie and Bennett. I think what you do for our humans is terrific! My papa sees your fellow therapy dogs in his clinical experience in nursing school and during his volunteer work at a elder care center. The smiles you guys give are priceless!!

  5. My Zanna has battled MRSI – 3 times ! We know what your going through. Strange? Zanna is a chocolate cocker too. Hope your doing better, hang in there!

    • Carol Bryant says:

      Hoping your puppy is okay, Joan….

    • Sebastien says:

      Hey Joan, Sorry for not replying about Zanna. Hope Zanna is doing well. Papa has been so busy with school that he has not had time to do the most important job of all…being my secretary. That said, I hope that Zanna is doing well. Papa has been bathing me regularly and keeping my hair short…REAL short. I still get small owies on occasion, but nothing like I used to get.

      Take Care!!

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