petplan pet insurance presents a primer on MRSA – part 2

Posted by Dr. Rebecca Jackson on Aug 02 2013

Yesterday, I told you about who MRSA infects and where it comes from. Today, I’ll tackle diagnose and treatment of the infection, and dish some tips for keeping your family safe.

Fortunately, diagnosing MRSA is a very straight forward process. Testing involves taking a sterile sample and submitting it to the lab for culture and sensitivity. The lab will take the sample, grow the bacteria, identify what type of bacteria is present, and then the lab will test the bacteria for susceptibility to a variety of antibiotics. Depending on the type of bacteria found, and the susceptibility that is found, a diagnosis of MRSA may be determined.

Now the big question: how is MRSA treated? This is a difficult question to answer, because it depends on what type of tissue is infected, what type of species is infected (human, cat, dog, horse, cow, etc.), and what type of antibiotic can treat that particular strain of MRSA. In cats and dogs, topical therapies are often instituted along with or instead of oral antibiotics. In some cases, there are no antibiotics available that the bacteria are susceptible to, and other modalities have to be employed. This can be a very serious condition, as therapy is not always successful and transmission is always possible.

Fortunately, there are a few very easy and straightforward things that you can do to prevent the spread of MRSA in your home.

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water – especially before and after handling your pets.
  • Do not let your cat or dog kiss you on the face.
  • Wash your pet’s toys and bedding frequently.
  • Pick up after your dog does his business outside immediately. Don’t let feces linger in the yard.
  • If your pet is diagnosed with MRSA, make sure you wear gloves when cleaning the area, changing bandages and/or treating the area, and dispose of all supplies directly into the trash, to prevent spread of the bacteria.

While MRSA can be an intimidating and sometimes scary condition, there is a great deal of research currently underway to find better ways to prevent its proliferation and treat infections more effectively.

To more waggin’ and purrin’. rkwj.