MRSA in Pets

Veterinarian Talks About Pets with MRSA

According to DVM magazine, for any veterinary practice, maintaining good hand hygiene standards is imperative to reduce MRSA infections. Cross-transmission of MRSA places vets and their staff at greater risk of MRSA infections and increases the chance that more of them will become colonized (carriers). The colonization rate for vet personnel is higher than the general population, based on a study by the CDC during the 2005 American College of veterinary Internal medicine Forum in Baltimore. The study showed that MRSA in 27 attendees out of 417, or 6.5 percent, Of the 27 positives, 15 of 96 large- animal practitioners carried MRSA ( 15.6 percent), as did 12 of 271 small-animal doctors (4.4 percent).

TRANSMISSION

Because of evidence of animal-to-human transmission, veterinary personnel should handle animals that are MRSA-positive with contact precautions, using gloves, gowns and environmental cleaning to prevent mechanical transmission. The same precautions used to prevent MRSA in humans should be used with pets – keeping wounds covered and using good hand hygiene in handling pets.

Veterinarians and veterinarian hospitals should be proactive and recent reports suggest MRSA is a zoonotic pathogen that is transmitted both human-to-animal and animal–to -human. This means that uninfected humans may possibly become infected with MRSA from animals.

Most MRSA-positive infections seen are dermatological cases in dogs and cats. It is recommended to culture open sores, lesions and wounds right away. The sooner test results are known, the sooner treatment can begin. MRSA infections are also are being reported in horses and pigs. Equine vets, horse owners and others who have close contact with horses are urged to wash their hands and sanitize grooming tools after each use.

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