Care Tips for MRSA From Infectious Disease Specialists

MRSA is an infectious disease according to the infectious disease specialists at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). MRSA or Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is a more dangerous form of the common staph infection. The MRSA virus is resistant to traditional forms of antibiotic treatment, causing it to be fatal in many cases especially when not correctly diagnosed early enough in the virus' existence.

MRSA Symptoms

Currently, dogs diagnosed with the MRSA virus have had the CA or Community Associated strain, caused by close personal contact with an infected human or animal in their surroundings, contact with infected items or surfaces, cuts or abrasions through which the virus can enter the body, crowded living conditions or lack of cleanliness of the dog and his surroundings.

MRSA typically appears as a pimple or boil that is red, swollen and painful. There is typically pus or other fluid draining from the affected area. If allowed to progress, the MRSA infection can cause pneumonia, blood infections or a wound infection if there are scratches or sores on the dog's body.

Care for MRSA Viral Infections

The infectious disease control doctors at the Mayo Clinic and the CDC state that, if diagnosed early enough, a superficial abscess caused by the MRSA virus can simply be drained and cleaned. Additional recommendations include:

  • Use of vancomycin has shown to be effective in the treatment of the MRSA infection that has progressed beyond a surface infection. There are other antibiotics that are still effective against the virus, but the most success has been seen using vancomycin. If your dog gets this infectious disease, his doctor will likely prescribe vancomycin.
  • The wound should be covered with clean bandages to prevent the spread of the infection to other parts of the body or to others in the household. Bandages can be thrown away in the regular trash.
  • All family members should wash their hands thoroughly and often with warm water and soap. An alcohol-based waterless hand cleaner can be used if soap and water are not available. This again prevents the spread of infection.
  • Contact with other animals in the family should be avoided in order to reduce the chance of the infection spreading.
  • The dog's bedding should be laundered in warm water and laundry soap. It should also be dried in the dryer on the hot setting to kill any infection left in the bedding. Any hard surfaces, such as crates or wicker baskets should be washed with soap and water or mild bleach solution in order to kill the virus on these surfaces.
  • Infectious disease control is the business of the CDC and they are calling the MRSA virus an emerging infectious disease. Even though this strain is resistant to many types of antibiotics, there are still several drugs that have been shown effective in the fight against the infection. Even with the effectiveness of some antibiotics, this virulent strain has already begun to show some resistance against these drugs. Again, it must be stressed that MRSA should be diagnosed early on in order to avoid having to use an antibiotic to fight it, increasing the chance of recovery.