Cats and dogs are infecting more pet owners with a staph infection resistant to certain antibiotics, according to the results of a study...

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Cats and dogs are infecting more pet owners with a staph infection resistant to certain antibiotics, according to the results of a study released this week.

Doctors from the University of South Florida College of Medicine in Tampa said that the transmission of MRSA is on the rise, due to animal bites and scratches. The results were released in the July issue of The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

Though veterinarians say that MRSA can be transmitted from animal to human, they also stress that MRSA is also transmitted from human to animal.

“Dogs and cats are getting it from people,” said Tate Posey, a veterinarian with Promenade Animal Hospital in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. “Most of what we are seeing is an increase amount of MRSA in dogs.”

Posey said that dogs used for hospital and nursing-home visits test positive for MRSA more often then other animals. And that could be because MRSA can be contracted from people who have open wounds or scratches.

Michelle Miller, chief veterinarian at the Melvin J. and Claire Levine Animal Care Complex in the Palm Beach Zoo, said those with weak immune systems can get the infection.

“Certainly dog and cat bites and scratches can be serious,” Miller said, adding, “I don’t want people to think they’re going to get MRSA from their pets. More commonly people get it because they’re carrying it themselves.”

MedlinePlus, a service from the National Library of Medicine, states that personal hygiene is key to avoiding MRSA infections. Tips include wash your hands; do not share personal items such as razors; and avoid whirlpools or saunas if another person in the them has an open sore.