Prevent spread of MRSA to pets

Q: I’ve been diagnosed with a MRSA infection. How can I prevent my dog, Bella, from catching it from me?

A: MRSA, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (pronounced “MERsa”), is a type of bacterial infection that doesn’t respond to methicillin or a wide range of other antibiotics. MRSA can be transmitted from humans to dogs and cats, but it’s uncommon, and the bacteria usually survive for only a short time in pets.

Nevertheless, it’s vital to prevent transmission of your MRSA infection to Bella. To do that, limit contact with her until your infection clears.

  • You shouldn’t cuddle or kiss her, and she should not sleep with you. Don’t allow her to lick your skin.
  • Wash your hands frequently. People in contact with you should wash their hands before and after they touch Bella or her food.
  • Launder your clothing and clean your home more often, paying particular attention to places you touch. Wash your sheets and Bella’s bedding frequently.

Talk with your health care provider about any additional measures you should take to prevent transmission of MRSA to your human family members, and use those same measures with Bella.

Fortunately, Bella won’t require testing for MRSA, unless she becomes ill or your MRSA infection recurs.

Our best wishes are with you during your recovery.


Lee Pickett, V.M.D. practices companion animal medicine. Contact her at askdrlee@insurefigo.com

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