Vets need to take more precautions over MRSA

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has warned that vets should take hospital-style precautions to avoid passing the MRSA "superbug" to animals, and should use sterile gloves, scrub suits and masks during operations to protect the animals.

BVA president Bob Partridge says he has "great concern" over MRSA among vets.Between 10 and 20 animals are found to carry the bug each year, but the BVA says that number is set to increase and veterinary surgeons need to adopt best practice in operating procedures to ensure as few cases as possible occur.

It is well-known in the industry the problems MRSA can cause and steps are needed to prevent infections as the bug becomes more common.

Some veterinary hospitals and a large number of practices already use these procedures.

Many people carry MRSA with no adverse effects, but it can become a killer when transmitted in hospitals and can be fatal in babies, the elderly and those with a weakened immune system, the bug is blamed for around 1,000 deaths each year.

Mr Partridge in an attempt to illustrate his point, mentioned a 10- year-old white Samoyed, which became the UK's first recorded MRSA dog death last year. The dog's owner, Jill Moss, of Edgware, Middlesex, is campaigning to stop other pets contracting the bug and is determined to inform and warn pet owners and vets of the need for better infection prevention.

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