Jake has had a skin rash (it’s not really a rash as much as black patches on his skin) on and off for two years.  Usually we take some meds and it clears up but lately the patches have been opting to stick around.  So we got him swabbed to see what was going on, and when they test what it is, they also test what antibiotic will work on it.

I got a call and our vet said ‘I have bad news and more bad news’.  Typical.

Jake has MRSP (it’s the animal form of MRSA, although as I understand it, animals can also get MRSA but MRSP is mostly just transmitted between animals whereas MRSA is transmittable by animal and human.). Just like some humans carry MRSA and other humans get MRSA infections, so to can animals be carriers and others get infected. So he has it, and that is bad news #1. And bad news #2 is that only one antibiotic showed up on the panel to help and it’s a drug that has been known to cause bone marrow cancer in some humans that handle it.

Wait. What?

The vet actually said these words:  ‘Only a small % of people who handle it get bone marrow cancer from it, but Tracey, knowing you and your dogs, you would definitely get it.’  So aside from medicine that might help Jake and that could kill me, we have no treatment options.  There is a cream that we will try (Jake has to have the spots shaved to help it work better).  So he’s going to look extra ‘special’ with his new hair cut, a lame eye, a diaper and a wheelchair. He does nothing halfway!

If anyone else has faced something similar, please reach out and share your experience!  Until then, I have started calling Jake, MRSA Joe. Only because MRSP requires explanation.

Who you calling MRSA Joe? IMG_5653




23 thoughts on “MRSA Joe.

  1. I had to wear surgical gloves when my fur baby had lymphoma to touch his cancer drugs. I would hold a paper towel when taking the gloves off for extra precaution. His vet gave me a bag of those gloves.

    • I asked about gloves (or trying injectables) but apparently the medication is not ‘regularly used’ (for obvious reasons) and when it pops up on the panel of drugs to use, they usually discount it due to the risks. Apparently, even opening the bottle and getting a ‘powder cloud’ can be harmful.

  2. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that it’s only sensitive to Chloramphenicol? If so, yes, administration is a challenge. I don’t have any experience using it in dogs, but we do use it in various formulations in horses – most of which we get made through a compounding pharmacy. If you could get it in a paste or liquid (and we’ve used both in horses) formulation, that might be easier to administer without the risk of aersolizing/inhaling it (and you could wear gloves, eye protection, etc. if necessary). Happy to do a little more digging if it is indeed Chloramphenicol you’re dealing with.

    As a side note, do you know if they tested sensitivity to amikacin? It’s not always included in sensitivity panels and sometimes has to be added on (though I’m guessing that they may have if they tested for Chloramphenicol sensitivity) – if it was amikacin-sensitive, it’s a super-pricy drug (though probably less so for jake than for my 1200lb horse), but a good option. Still has a risk of side effects, but not-so-much for the human administering it.

    I feel your pain with drug-resistant bugs – spent months battling a drug-resistant pseudemonas wound infection with one of my horses and it was a nightmare!

    • We have brilliant followers!!! That is in fact the drug they mentioned. I just called to see if they could test (or did test) for Amikacin. They are checking. Ugh, the thought of this on a horse makes me so sad! Seems so much harder to keep them clean and dry and the amount of meds you need!! It’s funny, I read this comment from you as I was shopping for my best friends horse for Christmas. Thank you for this info!! 😘

  3. Oh man! Jake (and you) cannot catch a break! Hoping for the best for his new regimen and secretly looking forward to seeing his new haircut!! Sending healing thoughts your way!

    Deanna, Mabel & Rico

  4. Hi Tracey, I’ve got your back on this one! (I’m a microbiologist)

    First, let me say that you’ve got a top notch micro lab if they identified the Staph. as Staph. pseudintermedius instead of Staph. aureus.

    If the cream is mupiricin (Trade name Bactroban), you and Jake should be golden. It usually has great activity against MSSA/MRSA and MSSP/MRSP. It’s also great for superficial animal bites (e.g. not punctures) as it has good activity against Pasteurella. It also has great activity against Streptococci. If you got a different cream, I suggest changing over to this one asap (if you need peer-reviewed journal articles to show your vet, I can provide them). It is available as a generic.

    Besides it’s activity, mupiricin is great because it is about the only topical antibiotic that crosses the dermis, so it’s approved for things like Staph. boils and what not. (It also works for a random acne spot 😉 [Triple antibiotic and any other over the counter do not do this]

    My biggest testimonial was when our (inherited from my FIL) shiba inu mix licked her whole belly into a mess. Don’t know how she did it, it was red from her front under arms to her girlie parts. Took her to the vet and they cleaned (washing off the spit is an important start) and shaved her and he sent me home with advice to use mupiricin (no oral abx prescribed!). Normally, it goes a long way, but I had a such a large area and only the ointment version at home. So, I spread a big glob onto my hands (used gloves so as not to waste any absorbing into me) and added some olive oil, mixed in my hands and “lathered her up”. Worked like a charm, in three days! I would not have known that she did it. For Jake, I’d just use it straight up. Vet prescribed twice a day, right?

    So, one other thing, since you’ve got a wide audience. I advise all of my friends to have a tube of mupiricin around. It is by prescription, but again, it is cheap as a generic. I recommend it to be used always for scratches from the garden and also insect bites. I used to work in a clinical hospital lab and now I work in a research lab for an infectious disease physician so I’ve had some experience with toxic shock and necrotizing fasciitis – BUT, not just in the lab, in people that I actually **know**. Many soft tissue infections may clear up with just a little polysporin, but then you might just have a Staph that is a toxin producer, you never know. Since Staph and Strep can live on your skin and in the environment, it is easy to get a soft tissue infection from an insect bite by scratching it or from a scratch from a bush. One of the cases that I know of was just last spring. One of my good friends had an insect bite near her ankle, which of course she scratched. In two days she was in the ER with toxic shock, sepsis, colitis and a failing kidney. Note that the problem with the toxin is that while you may kill the organisms with antibiotics, the toxin is still roaming the body, ultimately causing organs to fail if the infection is not treated soon enough, i.e. so less toxin is produced (the brother of a high school friend died this way when even penicillin early enough would have saved his life). Fortunately, she was in a good institution and survived, although it was several *months* before she could walk unaided. Scared the cr@p out of me since she was in another city and I am not a relative. In closing, I don’t want to scare everyone to death, bacteria in our environment and in us! are **good things**. But, so many of us carry Staph so it’s easy to introduce into our bodies and it just takes that one nasty one to cause a big problem.

    Cheers, Kerin

    • Is it weird that I LOVE YOU??!!! Because I do! Thank you so much for taking the time to share this with me (it made me feel courageous and superhero’ish to have my tube of Mupiricin!). Yes, twice a day is his dose. I am fascinated by bacteria and how it’s carried by some and causes infections in others. I’ve read a lot about MSRP in the last few days and have many notes on ‘colonization’ and whatnot! Jake will be fine. We’ll keep the shaved patches clean and dry and medicated. Thankfully none of the patches are in his diaper area. I really cannot thank you enough! In five years, this may be the most educational comment ever!!! 😘

      • Wow, well, you’re very welcome! It’s nice to have my professional life bail out my mommy life 😉

  5. Pingback: An update on MRSA Joe | oh melvin (and yo jake)

  6. My 11 year old JRT was attacked on Nov. 9, 2015 by another dog. It grabbed her between her shoulders, was shaking her so hard that my Bailey’s collar flew off of her into the street. I was beating the dog on the head & it’s back to get it to drop her. Finally it did & she landed on her side, I thought she was dead because she didn’t move. Then the dog grabbed her again by her side & was shaking her again. This time I grabbed it by the snout, feeling my Bailey’s skin between it’s teeth, I hit it on the head & it dropped her again, I scooped her up & ran to my house. My husband & I rushed her to the vet’s office. She was kept over night, She had a hole in her back along with other puncture holes; received pain pills, staples in her back & she was full of bruises. It also tore the hide away from the muscle, kind of like if you skin an animal.

    We made it through this thinking she was going to be ok, On January 9th her back started oozing not on the wound but close to it. I took her back to the vet, he did a culture & sent it away to be analyzed. It was Staph. pseudintermedius. She was put on a topical ointment & Chloramphenicol for 8 weeks. We had to be very careful when giving her the pills & used all precautions. We had to stop it 3 days before the 8 weeks because she was so sick we didn’t think she would make it.

    She bounced back quickly after stopping. This Friday will be 6 weeks off of the Chloramphenicol. We were told she has a 50/50 chance of the infection coming back. We have noticed black marks on her skin where she had been shaved, they’re almost like freckles, not dry, hard or scaly but they are getting bigger. I have an appointment to take her back to her doctor. I’m praying she will be ok, but am scared to death.

    I’m so sorry you are going through this. They are so much more than dogs, as some people say. Bailey has helped me through so much much & it hurts that this has happened to her…..all I wanted to do was take her for a walk on a beautiful day….

    • Oh my gosh! This is just so terrible and overwhelming! Kathy, you are an amazing dog mom and your sweet girl is so lucky to have you! I just really have no words. I’m sorry YOU are going through all of this and know that we are here if you want to chat or scream or sit in silence and just cry (I do all of these regularly!). Infections are so frustrating. You do everything right and you are at the mercy of medication and the will of the infection. Please keep us posted!

  7. I took Bailey for a check up last evening. We had concerns about a new lump, the black spots & that she may have a yeast infection, from the antibiotics. He did a needle aspiration of the lump & thank God it was a fatty tumor & no signs of infection. The black spots are from the infection & nothing to worry about, just a change in her pigment. She does have a yeast infection so we are treating that. She’s now 6 weeks out from being off of the antibiotic & by no means out of the woods yet.

    Thank you for your kind message. We’re keeping our faith & loving her more than ever!

Leave a Reply