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Facts On Flesh-eating Bacteria


What are the chances you or your pet will get the MRSA bacteria mainstream media can't tell you about even as it kills more people than ever this year?


Editor's note June 24 ~ since this was published there have been multiple cases of a MRSA-like bacteria that can be contracted by ingesting raw fish as well as from open wound infection.  WFLA news provided this photo of Adrian Ruiz, who was diagnosed with Vibrio Vulnificusa after eating undercooked shellfish or swimming in the gulf . 


Swimming advisories issued for beaches in Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.  Of the 27 reported cases of Vibrio so far in Texas, 41% involved contact with water. In 2015, Texas had 102 reported cases of Vibrio reported, most involved contact with water.


According to a June 26, 2016 update in "An infection may lead to necrotizing fasciitis, where the bacteria destroys the skin and tissue covering the muscle. That’s why in the popular media, the infection is sometimes referred to as flesh-eating bacteria. This, however, is not a medical term, and is also occasionally used to describe other bacteria that cause necrotizing fasciitis."  The message for pet owners is never give your animals under-cooked seafood and keep them out of the water!  


June 16, 2016

Stella Starr, Pet Perspectives



My elderly friend Edwina Twist who dotes on her toy poodle, got horrible news from her veterinarian. She asked me to "look it up" and I agreed. I didn't tell her everything, especially that amputations are a last resort to get rid of Staphylococcus and that cutting off a limb doesn't always work…


Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a "staph" bacteria that kills people and animals pets when it becomes "flesh eating bacteria (necrotizing fasciitis). As if that wasn't bad enough, MRSA developed a cousin called vibrio bacterium and both bugs have increased attacks on humans. According to CDC medical epidemiologist Rajal Mody, such bacteria “account for an estimated 80,000 illnesses, 500 hospitalizations and 100 deaths each year in the United States.


I decided to do a column on this bacterial infection that really does eats the flesh away! It can start from something as common as a boil, cut, or deep scratch, anything that breaks the skin's protective barrier. That opens the door to gruesome flesh-eating bacteria that multiply and start digesting skin cells and then flesh.


I learned about a Mr. Novou who, facing leg amputation, went to a clinic that uses a live virus treatment called phage therapy. This place was in Europe but it sounded like Russia. Anyway, I told Edwina about Tblisi because it intrigued me that they offered a cure for "Staphylococcus, a common bacteria which can cause anything from a simple boil to horrible flesh-eating infections. The article said the treatment "harnesses viruses called phages to attack and kill dangerous bacteria, including "superbugs" which have become progressively resistant to antibiotics." It said Mr. Novou spent $8,700 on his trip to Tbilisi in 2013 and to date, "has no regrets."


I'm not great at online stuff so media department did a deep search of the internet but it produced only a few science-based MRSA reports, especially on animals. We learned antibiotic resistant bacteria emerged in 1999 but it has been downplayed in mainstream media. That is a deep disservice! How would you know to thoroughly disinfect that abrasion, treat with antibiotic ointment, and most important, keep a watchful eye on it. How would I even spot it in one of my Persian's immense coats? Yes, I keep them in show coat.


Notably, was in the top twenty google returns for a 2014 article that warned "It quickly morphed into Staphylococcus aureus, the dreaded MRSA infection which attacks over 20,000 Americans per year, more than AIDS."


The number of canine fatalities attributed to the flesh-eating infection is not reported. We searched the internet and this National Institute Of Health/NCBI article was the best of "not much coverage" on Staphylococcus pseudintermedius necrotizing fasciitis in a dog{Ref 1}.


The .gov site stated in part: A 15-year-old female, spayed, mixed breed dog … had been previously diagnosed with intracranial meningioma and insulinoma, and had been treated with high doses of dexamethasone over the preceding week… was admitted to the intensive care unit … Over the next few hours, the soft tissue inflammation extended dramatically to include the entire left side of the ventral abdomen and proximal half of the left pelvic limb. The center of the lesion progressively changed in color from red to purple, then black. The clinical presentation was consistent with necrotizing fasciitis. Because of the severity of disease and poor response to initial treatment, the dog was euthanized 15 h after admission."


Why is the public not being warned? Would you, as a dog owner, be concerned about a little scratch that was "slow to heal"? Do you groom your Puli dog regularly? What about the groomer who does your poodle? Would he or she pay any attention to a "little sore place?"


If this is serious enough to cause the World Health Organization (WHO) to describe the flesh eating bacteria, antibiotic-resistant strains of deadly pathogens as a "global health crisis" then why does our medical and veterinary community seem to be not paying attention?


Two of my older friends suggested it is because the media is muzzled by the pharmaceutical industry until they can come up with a prescription drug to cure the flesh-eating-bacteria. Is the answer as simple as that?


Jean Carlet, an infectious diseases consultant for the WHO, seems to think so. "The laboratories have turned their back on this because the return on investment is just too small."


I hope you never need this MRSA information but like me, you may have friends who need to know the risks of not scrupulously tending to any broken skin injury until the sore is fully healed. The older we get the more fragile our skin becomes and so does our immune system.


I don't know, has the world become sicker than when we were kids and played in the dirt with scraped knees and cut fingers?


Reference Links:

Staphylococcus pseudintermedius necrotizing fasciitis in a dog EST 2002 © 1606

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Antibiotic Alternatives

We worry about viruses but bacteria can be deadly.

Pigs are affected by a porcine circovirus but says it doesn’t resemble canine circovirus.

Circovirus Kills Dogs

vomiting, bloody diarrhea, weight loss, and lethargy.

Vaccine Reactions

Flesh eating bacterial infections start injection site.


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