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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a 6-year old Great Dane girl, Leia. She was diagnosed with a MRSA (methicillin-resistant staph) infection, and it's been over 2 months, and the infection doesn't seem to respond to treatments.
I guess it all started about 3-4 months ago. One day my brother texted me that she must have fallen outside and hurt herself (we have a fenced yard to let the dogs roam around a little) because she couldn't walk or even stand up. (A similar episode happened a few years ago, and when we took her to the vet, they diagnosed her with arthritis in 5 vertebrae, gave her pain pills, and with rest it pretty much went away, even though she had slight mobility issues, like when she tried to sneak onto my bed that sits pretty high.) So we took her to the vet. He prescribed Derramaxx and prednisone. He did an X-ray and supposedly saw damage in her cervical vertebrae (I didn't see anything abnormal on the images, but I'm not a doctor). He wasn't really optimistic though and even hinted the possibility of having to put her down. He also ran some blood tests to make sure she didn't contract Lymes or any viruses.
First few days we had to help her express herself since she had no control of her rear body. Miraculously, in about 1 or 2 weeks, she was back on her feet walking, though slowly and with our help, but still. Oh, and a few days after I had started giving her steroids, I had to stop because she was having some pretty bad diarrhea.
Anyway, maybe a week or so later, I started noticing some pretty bad inflammation around her joints and on her feet. I thought maybe it was just from all the lying around and lack of moisture. So I applied some vaseline at first, and then later on I tried Johnson&Johnson baby oil. Unfortunately, it created a bad reaction and lesions formed and started oozing. I thought it could be just some allergy to oil/vaseline, so I gave her the rest of steroids. Predictably, inflammation subsided, only to come back even worse than before once I ran out of prednisone. I took her to the vet. They took a blood sample, and a couple of days later it came back positive for MRSA.
The vet prescribed ciprofloxacin. It slowly helped somewhat - her giant wound about an inch in diameter closed up, and inflammation reduced somewhat, but still new lesions were forming and bleeding. She also started having more trouble walking. The vet said I should resume Deramaxx, but honestly every time I'd give it to her, it seemed to cause more inflammation and bleeding. She also started having trouble walking again.
After cipro, the vet prescribed chloramphenicol (CAP), which is 95% effective against MRSA. It's been 3 weeks, and while her condition is stable, it's not getting better. I started giving her yogurt to maybe boost her immune system, bought probiotics and enzymes from Nzymes.com, but there is no improvement. She is highly tolerant to pain, I believe, so I can't tell by her mood if she's hurting or not. She still barks at mailmen and cars outside, tries to lick everybody, even though she can barely walk.
Can you guys please help me heal my doggie?
 

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MRSA is a very nasty bug. First and foremost I would be very, very careful yourself so you don't contract it. In hospitals healthcare workers were gown and gloves so that they don't contract it from patients. MRSA spreads by contact (touching) so be very careful you and your family do not get it. I would thoroughly disinfect your house and limit the dog's ability to move about the house to prevent the germ's spread. MRSA takes a while to beat. It usually isn't like your typical infection that you take antibiotics for 10 days and you are done. MRSA usually requires longer term treatment. Do NOT stop giving the antibiotic without consulting the vet - stopping antibiotics part-way, especially with an already resistant germ will only serve to increase its resistance to treatment. Also make sure that the probiotics and enzymes are okay with the CAP the vet prescribed as giving some medications too close together (within a few hours of each other) or being on both at the same time can cause adverse interactions or "cancel out" each other. I would be especially careful with the enzymes. Keep her wounds clean (wear gloves and a water proof apron when cleaning them!) Keep any dressings clean, dry and intact. Observe for any foul smell, discharge, drainage, or change in color. Keep a "wound diary". Take daily pictures so that you can keep track of the healing. Pictures may also be helpful to the vet in tracking the healing and what may be needed next.
Be very, very careful as your dog can easily spread MRSA to you and anyone in your household. I don't touch my MRSA patients without gloves and a gown as it is easily passed between people. I would let your dog only be on and near things you can bleach.
As for the pain - generally if an animal in functional and is not deviating from a normal routine I don't count mine as in pain. If my elderly dog's arthritis flairs and he is reluctant to get up or move around then I count him as hurting. If he gets right up, goes and barks as someone in the alley and has no problem keeping up with my younger dogs then he is fine. You are not going to be able to completely rid the dog of pain but you can make it tolerable (tolerable being that pain is present but is at a low enough level that it may be bothersome on occasion but one can easily function with it present). If the dog isn't deviating from normal routine, whining or moving different (favoring a different leg as an example) then she is probably fine.
 

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2 things:

- please be careful when handling the chlormaphenicol. I know your vet told you to use gloves when handling this medication. If he didn't I would be shocked as it causes aplastic anemia in people (but not in dogs).

- He probably said MRSA but, it most likely is MRSI. A technicality, but, an important one when you're talking about public health concerns. Dogs carry the bacteria called Staphylococcus intermedius which is not known to be dangerous to humans who carry Staphylococcus aureus (which definitely is if it is resistant). Both are normal inhabitants of the skin of their respective species (unless they're resistant like this one). You should take necessary precautions anyway, but, probably do not have to worry about getting sick from this MRSI. Unfortunately, if the bacterial culture is sent out to a human diagnostic lab for culture, they sometimes will report Staph infections from dog samples as Staph. aureus when it actually is S. intermedius.
 

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I’m really sorry to hear about your situation. My own Newfoundland - Quincy - contracted MRSA when he went in for a simple curciate ligament injury on one of his back legs when he was 1 ½ years old. To make things worse, at the age of 6 months, he was diagnosed with Hip Dysplasia.

After three months of going backwards and forwards to the vets, it was then that I took him to the main dog hospital in the UK. This was all because, on that day, he was lying on the floor with his head on my lap and I knew he was going to be dead by the morning if I didn’t do anything straight away.

They admitted him that day and I was told that he had contracted MRSA. After a further three months, I was told that the MRSA had entered his bones and had started creeping up his bones and that within 2 weeks my dog would be dead. As I was not willing to let him go and against the hospitals recommendation, I requested that his back leg be amputated.

He is now 11 years old and with the help of hydrotherapy (which he does once a week), he is still chasing rabbits around my home and leads a normal life with his brother. He is not on medication or anything of the sort.

Recently, I created a new full body support harness for dogs system which helps support him. The reason I invented this device was because nothing such as this exists and I know the older he gets the more the stress will be placed on his single back leg.

At this stage I should point out that, I was in a fortunate position to be able to build my own hydrotherapy pool for him, which has now become a business. Due to the fact I swam so many dogs over the past 9 years, that’s why this new invention came to being which will help dog with all kinds of problems from avoiding bowed legs, CDRM, elbow and hip dysplasia, curciates and loads of mobility in dogs issues.

You can read Quincys story on his website: www.hydrofordogs.co.uk.

This was all some 9 years ago and maybe there are things that can be done now to help dogs that get MRSA, but be brave and don’t give up. I think we all really wish you the best.

xxx get well soon xxx
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Thank you for the 'wound diary' suggestion - it's a great idea. Some days I think my perception of her condition and whether she's improving depends on my mood. Having objective data will definitely be very helpful.

Yeah, the vet didn't mention anything about gloves while handling CAP, but I found out about this fact after searching the web. I did read about different staph strains too. I'm actually planning on another blood sample analysis to see what the results are.

Thank you for your support. I was actually thinking about hydrotherapy myself. I was almost ready to start building a pool for her in my back yard. My concern is though she has open wounds and I don't know if I can sanitize water enough so that Leia doesn't get additional infections from the water itself.

So I took her to another vet a few days ago. Based on my info and the visual examination, he actually believes it could be a viral or a yeast infection. He says he'd like to have to take a blood sample and send it for a new analysis. But she'll have to be off any antibiotics first, for about 10 days.
So she's been off CAP since Saturday, and the wounds are in the same condition, but she can walk better. Or maybe again it's just my perception. But she was able to get up a few stairs on the porch all by herself, as opposed to me having to help her.
 
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