Monday, April 28, 2008
Medical Reports: Pet Germs
Furry friends are like family. You dress them, kiss them and take them around town, but did you know deadly pet germs can make you sick?
WSVN -- MRSA is a super bug with enough super power to infect and even kill. In the last year, it's spread through locker rooms, shut down schools and caused young students to die from simple contact. Now we're learning an unsuspecting source is also carrying this potentially deadly staph infection.
Andrea Irwin: "I thought my dog was going to die."
Andrea Irwin was so worried about her dog's health she never considered he was carrying something that could harm her too. She was shocked when she found out he was infected with a human strain of MRSA.
Andrea Irwin: "He had MRSA all under here, his legs."
Kathleen Whener has fought allergy infections in her dog.
Kathleen Whener: "I was afraid I was going to lose him. He was so sick."
The vet would also give her frightening news.
Kathleen Whener: "They did a skin culture, and the skin culture came back with E-coli, heavy growth of staph, and a new bacteria they are just starting to see in dogs that can be very dangerous."
Even more dangerous, Kathleen's precious pet could have infected her.
Dr. Efrain Garica: "There has been studies that show that the same strain of E-coli found in domestic animals have caused disease such as acute urinary tract infection in family members."
Craig Stevens: "Luckily, neither Kathleen and Andrea got sick, but doctors worldwide are seeing more cases of diseases being passed back and forth between humans and their pets.
Dr. Michael Fusco: "Lately, as of 1998, they have found MRSA infections in dogs, cats and horses, and, thinking is, that the MRSA infections came from humans, and they were transmitted to pets, and now the cycle is continuing."
In Germany, doctors found out why a family who suffered repeated infections from MRSA was because they were being reinfected by their cat.
Some countries are now advising doctors of MRSA patients to test family pets. Dr. Efrain Garcia of Mercy Hospital says pet owners need to be aware of the dangers.
Dr. Efrain Garica: "Dogs can give you bacterial infections such as leptospirosis. They can give you lyme disease. They can give you viral infections such as rabies and parasitic infections such as ringworm, roundworms."
Vets say the only way to protect yourself is to know how germs are passed from pets to people.
Dr. Michael Fusco: "Most infections come from either direct contact, that's skin contact. Respiratory contact, that would be inhalation or ingestion."
Dr. Fusco says, for the most part, if your pets are properly vaccinated, and you're careful to wash your hands, you don't have to worry.
Dr. Michael Fusco: "I think you would be more at risk from a human kiss as far as a pathogens goes."
As for Kathleen, her dog is getting better day by day, but she's now being more careful to protect her health as well.
Kathleen Whener: "One thing I probably do more is wash my hands after I pet him and rub him. whereas a lot of times I wouldn't get up and do that."
Craig Stevens: "Doctors say to always act quickly if you think your pet may be sick. That way you can stop any infections before they spread."
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Dr. Michael Fusco
Adams Veterinary Clinic
672 NE 79th St.
Miami, FL 33138
The Bella Moss Foundation