Information on MRSA Carrier Symptoms

An MRSA carrier may exhibit mild to severe symptoms, or no symptoms at all. If your dog is an MRSA carrier, don't despair; most dogs only carry the bacteria for a short period of time, perhaps a few weeks. However, MRSA is contagious from humans to animals and contact with your dog during this period could spread the infection to you and other members of your household. Here's some more information on MRSA and MRSA carrier symptoms.

Infection, Incubation Period and Symptoms

When methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) enter your dog's body, they begin to multiply right away. If your dog's immune system doesn't fight off the infection, MRSA bacteria can enter your dog's bloodstream and spread to any location in his body. He won't show any symptoms at first, but, after an incubation period of one week to ten days, symptoms of MRSA infection may appear.

MRSA typically causes skin infections, though if airborne the bacteria can cause an antibiotic resistant type of pneumonia that is very hard to treat. Dogs with MRSA typically develop a skin lesion that manifests as a red, inflamed area with an acne-like bump in the center. The wound may itch and appear crusty. If particularly severe, pus may drain from the wound; hair loss may occur if your dog scratches and bites the area.

If Your Dog Is An MRSA Nasal Carrier or Staph Carrier

If your dog is an MRSA carrier, it's more likely that he'll develop staph infections of the skin when he suffers a wound, undergoes surgery or succumbs to a debilitating illness. Most dogs only carry the bacteria for a few weeks, after which time the bacterial colonization within the body resolves itself. Dogs carrying MRSA should be isolated from other dogs and humans to prevent spread of the infection, as well as the re-infection that can occur once the colonization has cleared itself.

Dogs who carry MRSA may suffer from frequent skin infections; in fact, frequent hard-to-treat skin infections are the number one sign that your dog is an MRSA carrier. However, many dogs won't display MRSA carrier symptoms at all. If you, other pets, and other members of your household seem to suffer from MRSA infections for no obvious reason, it could mean that your dog is an MRSA carrier.

Preventing MRSA Infection

Good hygiene is the first step toward controlling MRSA infection. Those who own an MRSA infected dog or a dog who is an MRSA carrier should keep the dog isolated from others as much as possible. MRSA is a deadly infection that can be spread from dogs to humans.

When caring for your MRSA carrier dog, use rubber gloves and sanitize all instruments and areas that come into contact with your dog. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling your MRSA dog. Be especially vigilant of mucosal fluids; the bacteria can be transmitted through your dog's nasal secretions if he is an MRSA nasal carrier.

MRSA treatment is long and arduous, so prevention is the best cure. Keep your staph carrier dog isolated and the colonization should resolve itself within a few weeks.