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Old 05-14-2009, 04:07 AM   #1
k9mania
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Therapy dogs may carry hospital germs

A new study of pet therapy dogs shows just how easily hospital germs can be transmitted to visitors.
Canadian researchers studied 26 therapy dogs who visited patients in hospitals or long-term care facilities. Before and after each visit, a dog’s forepaws and the hands of its handler were tested for three bacteria that commonly cause hospital infections — Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant enterococci and Clostridium difficile. To detect whether a dog was carrying germs on its fur, the researcher also sanitized her hands, petted the dog and had her hands tested for the pathogens.
None of the dog paws, handlers or the researcher tested positive for the bacteria before the hospital visits. But after the hospital visits, two of the dogs were contaminated. One dog, a greyhound, had C. difficile on its paws. Another dog, a pug, appeared to pick up MRSA on its fur. (MRSA was found on the hands of the investigator after she petted the dog upon its return.)

See rest of article at:

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/0...ns/?ref=health
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Old 05-14-2009, 05:27 AM   #2
Corinthian
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Originally Posted by k9mania View Post
A new study of pet therapy dogs shows just how easily hospital germs can be transmitted to visitors.
Canadian researchers studied 26 therapy dogs who visited patients in hospitals or long-term care facilities. Before and after each visit, a dog’s forepaws and the hands of its handler were tested for three bacteria that commonly cause hospital infections — Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), vancomycin-resistant enterococci and Clostridium difficile. To detect whether a dog was carrying germs on its fur, the researcher also sanitized her hands, petted the dog and had her hands tested for the pathogens.
None of the dog paws, handlers or the researcher tested positive for the bacteria before the hospital visits. But after the hospital visits, two of the dogs were contaminated. One dog, a greyhound, had C. difficile on its paws. Another dog, a pug, appeared to pick up MRSA on its fur. (MRSA was found on the hands of the investigator after she petted the dog upon its return.)

See rest of article at:

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/0...ns/?ref=health
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases...0507101820.htm
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Old 05-14-2009, 11:15 AM   #3
Labman
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Just yesterday I was asked about Tux doing pet therapy. I turned it down because the service dog school he belongs to now discourages letting people pet him. I haddn't thought about risks to my health.

Do dogs pick up those infections too?
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Old 05-14-2009, 11:39 AM   #4
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Yes, animals can develop infections of Clostridium difficile and MRSA, but just like with humans, it would likely be those with an already compromised immune system. There is some difference between hospital acquired and community acquired MRSA, with community acquired being the more dangerous of the two.

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Old 05-14-2009, 01:19 PM   #5
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Good food for thought.

Elsa June and I have been visiting a local nursing home almost every week for 4 years. If I have a cold or any communicable disease, I don't take it into the residents; but I had never thought about being contaminated by them.

I've been called by the nursing home and warned not to come in if they have a flu and are keeping the residents separated from each other(don't want Elsa to be Typhoid Mary)

There are rooms with MRSA patients that are clearly marked for no admittance without permission. The staff seems to be vigilant about not putting us in harms way.

So far, neither of us has gotten sick from our visits, but it is something to think about. Thanks K9 for the article

Last edited by elsasmom : 05-14-2009 at 01:20 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 10-19-2009, 02:21 PM   #6
lavenderlil
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therapy dogs

But if this is known that the patients have infectious conditions,Why would the therapy dog +handler be allowed to visit?Surelly the charge nurse on duty at the time would not allow this visit and also it is standard practice to distinfect all paws+brush teeth,light distinfection of coat on dog a natural product usually.Lavender Lil
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Old 11-10-2009, 07:58 PM   #7
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yikes! makes sense though, if they are around people who are sick, the pets can be succeptable to those diseases and carry them elsewhere.
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