MRSI - - drug resistant staph infection in pets

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Kathy813, Nov 8, 2009.

  1. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Has anyone else had a dog that had this? It is described to me by my vet as a severely drug resistant staph infection. We are seeing a dog dermatologist for our 2 year old Shih Tzu's skin infections.

    This all started after we had her stay at a dog trainer's house while we were on a cruise. A few days after she got home, I noticed what looked like a crusted over bug bite on her stomach. We took her to our regular vet who said that she thought that it was a bug bite and gave her a steroid shot.

    It went away but about three weeks later I noticed Gracie getting sores again. They are pimple sized bumps that are pus filled and break and crust over. We went back to our regular vet practice and saw a different vet who agreed with me that it was a staph infection and put her on an antibiotic which did clear up the sores.

    Gracie was still scratching constantly, though, so I looked up a vet dermatologist and took her to see her. She took skin scrapings to rule out mites or ringworm which came back negative so the vet decided to do a food trial to see if Gracie had developed a food allergy.

    In the meantime, the sores came back with a vengence so back we went and this time the dog dermatologist took a culture of the pus and sent it to a nearby research university where it was cultured. While waiting for the culture results, the vet put Gracie was put on a different antiobiotic that didn't seem to be working.

    We just found out on Friday that she has MSRI (the dog version of MRSA) and needed to be put on the only antibiotic (Chloramphenicol) that the lab showed would work. We have to use gloves to even touch the pills (according to the web, humans can develop aplastic anemia just from touching it). That freaked out my husband since his dad died in the 1950's from aplastic anemia resulting from antibiotic use.

    How the heck can that be good for my dog? But what choice do I have? I have done extensive web research and this is evidently becoming more and more common in pets.

    Have any of you been through this? Was the dog cured?:eek:

  2. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    You have to do what you feel comfortable with, and keep Gracie as healthy/well as you possibly can while doing so. I'm afraid that you also need to notify the dog sitter as to the infection. I wouldn't point any fingers, but she needs to know. You don't want anyone else's dog to get it.

    If it were me and we could afford it and Gracie is in otherwise good health, I'd do what I had to in order to get rid of the infection. Two years old is very young to let her suffer like that. Be super careful to follow the instructions, and watch her for appetite loss, etc.

    Good luck! Sorry she is having to go through this. :(
  3. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member


    I couldn't believe I read this. My shih tzu had a large pimple size sore on her skin that was crusted and bleeding for a couple weeks. We cleaned it and put neosporin on it and it took maybe two weeks later for it to clear up. She still has the bump under her skin so I don't know if the infection is still inside it or not, but I'm guessing I better bring her to the vet.

    I would do whatever I could to treat my shih tzu since she is part of our family and I'm sure you feel the same way. I sure hope it can be cured.

  4. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I had no idea dogs could get this, it makes sense but I never thought about it. I would do all I could possibly afford to as long as my pet had some quality of life and it sounds like your has plenty of life left. This is frightening though- thanks forr bringing it to my attention.
  5. Kathy813

    Kathy813 Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Nancy ~ From my research, I learned that what looks like a spider bite is almost never a spider bite. Most MRSA (and MRSI) infections start that way. I would definitely take your fur baby to the vet. I would also insist that they culture it. My regular vets didn't do that and it put off treatment unnecessarily.

    Witz ~ The strange part is that Gracie doesn't act sick at all. She is just as playful as always. You wouldn't know anything is wrong with her except for the sores.

    The sores are already clearing up after just a day and a half on the new antibiotic. Gracie has to be on the antibiotic for 30 days to try to eradicate the staph bacteria so it doesn't come back.

    From what I have read, it doesn't pass easily from dog to dog which explains why my older dog hasn't had any problems. It is also thought that it doesn't pass from dogs to people with healthy immune systems although it does in reverse. As a precaution, many sites did recommend keeping the infected animal off beds and furniture.

    Will someone please explain that to Gracie? She is on the bed with me right now. I figure if husband and I haven't had a problem by now, we won't catch it.

    I'm just worried about my little fur baby. You are right, Nancy, even with husband out of work, we would do just about anything to make her better. If you could just see her little face . . .