Can Your Pet Make You Sick?
Pets are wonderful sources of affection, companionship and enjoyment, and they may even lower your blood pressure, cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels. But did you know that Felix and Fido can also make you sick? Several million people in the US get infections each year from interactions with cats, dogs and other pets. These range from benign skin conditions to potentially serious illnesses such as salmonella, Monkeypox and MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus). However, with a little pet know-how and lots of plain old common sense, most pet-related illnesses can be avoided. For insight into the scope of pet-related illness, I spoke with Peter M. Rabinowitz, MD, MPH, director of clinical services in occupational and environmental medicine at Yale University School of Medicine. Dr. Rabinowitz is coauthor of an article published in a recent issue of American Family Physician that discussed 26 different pet-related infections. READ MORE…
Therapy Dogs Fetch Hospital Germs
A new study of pet therapy dogs shows just how easily hospital germs can be transmitted to visitors.
Canadian researchers studied 26 therapy dogs who visited patients in hospitals or long-term care facilities. Before and after each visit, a dog’s forepaws and the hands of its handler were tested for three bacteria that commonly cause hospital infections — Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant enterococci and Clostridium difficile. To detect whether a dog was carrying germs on its fur, the researcher also sanitized her hands, petted the dog and had her hands tested for the pathogens.
None of the dog paws, handlers or the researcher tested positive for the bacteria before the hospital visits. But after the hospital visits, two of the dogs were contaminated. One dog, a greyhound, had C. difficile on its paws. Another dog, a pug, appeared to pick up MRSA on its fur. (MRSA was found on the hands of the investigator after she petted the dog upon its return.) READ MORE…
Pets Get MRSA Infections Too
In recent years, the resistant bacteria known as MRSA has become a growing problem for veterinarians, with an increasing number of infections turning up in birds, cats, dogs horses, pigs, rabbits and rodents, reports today’s Science Times.
MRSA infections have been found in zoo animals and in therapy dogs, who pick up the germs when visiting hospitals and nursing homes. Recently, a study found that cat owners were eight times more likely than others to have MRSA at home. READ MORE…
TIE TO PETS HAS GERM JUMPING TO AND FRO
For decades, the drug-resistant germ called MRSA was almost exclusively a concern of humans, usually in hospitals and other health care settings.
But in recent years, the germ has become a growing problem for veterinarians, with an increasing number of infections turning up in birds, cats, dogs, horses, pigs, rabbits and rodents. And that, infectious-disease experts say, is becoming a hazard to humans who own or spend time with these animals.
“What’s happened for the first time that we’ve noticed is that you’re getting flip back and forth,” said Scott Shaw, head of the infection control committee at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. READ MORE…
When it comes to the transmission of MRSA and Clostridium difficile, dogs are not necessarily man’s best friend
London, UK, 7 May 2009 – In a letter to the Editor of the Journal of Hospital Infection, published by Elsevier, S. Lefebvre and J.S. Weese from the University of Guelph in Canada describe a study that investigated whether MRSA and C.difficile could be passed between pet therapy dogs and patients. The findings suggested that MRSA and C. difficile may have been transferred to the fur and paws of these canine visitors through patients handling or kissing the dogs, or through exposure to a contaminated healthcare environment.
This study was conducted amongst 26 pet therapy dog-handler teams between June – August 2007. Twelve teams visited acute care facilities and 14 visited long-term care facilities. Prior to each visit, the dog’s forepaws and their handlers’ hands were tested for MRSA, vancomycin-resistant enterococci and C.difficile. In addition, the investigator sanitized her hands, handled each dog, and then tested her hands for the same pathogens. Testing was repeated on departure from the facility. The dog-handler teams were observed at all times during the visits and all interactions with patients and staff were closely monitored. READ MORE…