Bella Moss foundation at Discover Dogs
MRSA CONTINUES to be a significant problem to both the human and animal populations of the UK, and worldwide. The risks of transmission from owners and veterinary staff to pets are becoming increasingly apparent.
Jill Moss with Terry Manfield CBE Vice chairman of Hearst Media Corporation and his dog Inca, who has recently recovered from MRSA
Awareness among vets of these risks remains variable across the country, with some vets taking active steps to reduce the risk and having up-to-date information for pet owners, and written infection control procedures for practice staff.
Not all vet practices are as well informed, though, and The Bella Moss Foundation continues to answer questions from daily from pet owners about the risks to pets from MRSA and other pathogens.
This was the message put out by the Foundation to visitors to Discover Dogs two weeks ago. The stand was well attended over both days and attracted a great deal of attention.
Several dog owners whose pets had contracted MRSA helped to man the stand and answer questions from the public and media. One of the most high profile dog owners was Terry Manfield CBE Vice chairman of Hearst Media Corporation whose pet dog Inca has recently recovered from MRSA
Jill Moss, President and Founder of the Bella Moss Foundation, said: ‘Since the death of my dog Bella to MRSA in 2004 I have highlighted over last three years MRSA as an emerging danger to pets.
There are still many veterinary practices that remain uninformed. One of the main requests I get at present is from pet owners needing help in what to ask their vet about how infections of all kinds are prevented on practice premises.
‘At present The Foundation receives ten or so requests for information or help every day; and an increasing number of those are from the United States.’
MRSA is not well suited to cats and dogs, which tend to have their own specialised bacteria, and current research tends to point to humans as the source of most MRSA infections in domestic pets.
This can be a particular risk if an animal has to undergo surgery, spend an extended time in a veterinary hospital or has an underlying condition that reduces its immune system, and because new research is showing that vets, like human healthcare workers, seem to have a higher occupational likelihood of carrying MRSA, pets under treatment can be at a higher risk of exposure.
The Foundation has taken an active role in bringing information to vets and vet nurses, and in 2007 in association with Janssen Animal Health, the foundation presented a series of seminars to veterinary professionals across the country.
‘The seminars were hugely successful,’ said Moss, ‘and we hope to organise further programmes for next year. The support we had from the profession itself was truly amazing, and we are tremendously grateful for the support we’ve had for the projects we’re planning.’
In 2008 the Foundation is launching a website to give information and training to veterinary staff on MRSA in animals. The Foundation has had great input from some of the country’s leading veterinary experts.