Is Zyvox a Cure for MRSA-Positive Dogs?

MRSA positive dogs may be carriers who never show symptoms. MRSA treatment can be difficult because these bacteria are resistant to many forms of traditional antibiotics, including the penicillin based drugs. Vancomycin is often used to treat methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), but when the bacteria become resistant even to vancomycin, some vets prescribe the prescription drug Zyvox (linezolid) as a cure for MRSA.

MRSA Infection and Symptoms

MRSA infection can occur when the staph bacteria (usually gram positive cocci) enter a wound, whether accidental or surgical, or when your dog suffers a severe illness that weakens his immune system and leave him vulnerable to infection. Once the bacteria enter your dog's body, they can get into his blood stream. From there, they can travel to any location in his body and cause serious, even deadly, infection.

Symptoms of MRSA infection usually involve red, inflamed skin lesions that are raised, in the center, into an acne-like bump. These lesions may appear crusty, and pus may drain from the wounds. They may itch and hair loss may occur if your dog scratches or bites the infected area too much.

Treating MRSA In Dogs With Powerful Antibiotics

MRSA bacteria are resistant to most traditional forms of antibiotics. Vets may prescribe antibiotics such as vycomycin for the treatment of MRSA infections in dogs. However, MRSA can easily become resistant to vycomycin as well; if this happens, your vet may prescribe linezolid, which is marketed under the name Zyvox in the U.S.

Treatment of MRSA can be arduous. Oral and topical medications may be involved, and your dog may need injections as well. The course of antibiotics could last several weeks and it's important to finish all prescriptions to prevent re-infection. Often the antibiotics used to treat MRSA infection are so powerful and toxic that they can cause additional health complications; your dog may require careful veterinary monitoring during the course of his treatment.

Infection Control and Hygiene

If your dog is MRSA-positive, control the infection by practicing proper hygiene. Keep your dog isolated to prevent the spread of the infection. Use rubber gloves when handling your infected dog and sanitize all equipment your infected dog might use. Sterilize the area where your infected dog lives daily.

Wash your hands thoroughly after handling your infected dog. Be especially vigilant of your infected dog's mucosal secretions, as MRSA bacteria could be transmitted in his nasal discharge or saliva. Be wary of bites and scratches; if you receive a bite or scratch from an MRSA positive dog, clean it thoroughly with an antiseptic wash and see your doctor right away.

Prevention of MRSA Infection

Hygiene is also key to the prevention of MRSA infection. Most dogs are at low risk for such an infection, but if your dog is an MRSA carrier his risk increases. Any dog with an open wound is at risk for infection; keep such wounds clean and bandaged and monitor them to make sure they're healing properly. Also, be aware that dogs recovering from illness are at higher risk for MRSA infection, and extra care should be taken to ensure they aren't exposed.