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2BigReds 10-11-2011 08:33 PM

Horses and MRSA: Rant & Question
MRSA is a kind of Staph bacteria that can be carried by dogs, cats, horses and humans (probably other species as well). Generally it's benign, unless the individual carrying it has an immune deficiency of some sort. As far as I've read, I think only humans are commonly negatively affected by it. Nothing was said about animals suffering from the infection, but you know how society seems to care much more about human wellness than animals at times...

Anyway, I have APS which is a form of lupus, so I'm on immune suppressors to keep my arthritis and other symptoms at a minimum. Two days ago (Sunday) I noticed I had some pretty icky looking lesions on my calves and ankles. Fortunately my monthly checkup with my rheumatologist was the next day. Unfortunately, they think it's a MRSA infection. :-( They won't have the cultures back for another day or two so they can start me on the right medications to heal me.

Worst part is, Sock was supposed to move into Arriba Vista tomorrow morning, but I have to stay close to my doctor in Fresno at least until they have the cultures back.

I've already bought the horse and we've transferred registration papers. His former owners are gracious enough to keep him out at pasture until I can get back to the bay area to move him in and I've let the barn know my situation. I know it's not my fault, but I feel terrible about causing everyone so much trouble, especially the barn manager because the three prospects before this gelding didn't end up closing for one reason or another and I hate going back and forth like this.

I'm sad, angry and frustrated that this is all happening right now. It seems like every time my health starts improving something like this happens. Probably the worst part is that while I'm somewhat contagious, I feel pretty much fine. At least with the arthritis it's easier to understand why I can't do everything I might've wanted to on the days when it flares up. But hell, at least I'd still be able to move my boy in and see him! I can't stand this crap. :cry:

But aside from venting, I also had a question. Have any of you heard of or experienced an occasion where a horse had a MRSA infection? I want to make absolute sure that I'm not putting Sock or anyone else in danger by being around the barn while I'm contagious. Once I'm healed good hygiene should keep things normal, but first and foremost I don't want to hurt anyone else. From what I've been told, if I wash my hands often and keep my lesions bandaged until they heal I shouldn't infect anyone, but I want to make absolutely sure that if by some chance it could, I stay far away from all of the horses. Especially those with the bug that's going around.

Sorry for being so long-winded! I appreciate anyone who took the time to read all of this nonsense, especially if they share their opinions as well.

pepperduck 10-11-2011 10:56 PM

I haven't experienced it with horses, but I have with dogs. So I know it can transfer with them. I would be hesitant around horses, or really anyone for that matter that now. I'm sorry its a rough time for you, and what horrible timing with getting a horse. :( Get better!

2BigReds 10-12-2011 01:43 AM

Thanks, Pepper. That's pretty much the plan until my doctor says I'm not contagious anymore. I've been working on preparing some of his tack (with freshly washed hands, of course!) to distract myself a bit. It's certainly helping my morale! Hopefully the healing process won't take forever.

Joe4d 10-12-2011 06:29 AM

Theye have a medical talk show in my area and they just happend to be talking about MRSA,,, the Dr on show basically said individuals arnt really vectors for MRSA, the bacteria is just around, I probably have it on me, you could get it from shaking my hand then rubbing your leg near a small scrape, You may have it living on your Tshirt,, Its pretty common bacteria. I wouldnt worry about "Giving" it to your horse. The horse most likely already has some of the bacteria on him. But his healthy immune system is keeping it in check.

MRSA infections seem to happen with immune deficient people, or if it gets a jump start introduction into an open wound, but the bacteria is already there usually.

2BigReds 10-12-2011 01:08 PM

Joe, I know it's almost everywhere, but my main concern is the horses that are sick. There's a cold going around the barn so I'm mainly concerned about getting those horses sick (though I don't really know if I can) until that whole thing runs its course. I'd be particularly worried that Sock would get the cold and I wouldn't be able to see him for a few days, not to mention that during that time he'd be quarantined in his stall. :( Don't know if he'd care much since the sick horses don't seem to be energetic in the least but I'd hate to think of my boy lonely in some of his first days at the barn!

smrobs 10-12-2011 02:23 PM

Like you said, MRSA is already everywhere. We all carry the bacteria on our skin all the time. Likely the only reason that you got it is because you are immunocompromised. So long as you keep the lesions bandaged and thoroughly wash your hands afterward with hot water and antibacterial soap, then the risk of infecting something/one else is minimal. I wouldn't avoid trips to the barn because of it, just make sure to take proper precautions.

I hope you heal up quickly and don't have any more problems. Illness and infections on someone who takes immunosuppressants are always scary.

2BigReds 10-12-2011 02:32 PM

Thanks, smrobs. At any rate, I'm going to visit Sock at his current home in Ceres on my way back to the bay area from Fresno. His former owners (I own him, he just hasn't moved in yet) are being very gracious about keeping him with then until I can arrange things and get healthy!

Fortunately the immunosuppresants I'm on now aren't too strong, just enough to prevent flare ups. Thank god they aren't stronger or I might be in a much more dire situation!

nuisance 10-12-2011 04:06 PM

I'm a nurse, if your MRSA is just in the wound, not pulmonary based, you should not have to worry about passing on the infection, if you practice good hand washing. Keep wound covered when out and about, and WASH YOUR HANDS! Not just the antibacterial gels. You will not be contagious, unless your have MRSA in your lungs, then you can pass it on by casual contact.

Good luck. I understand, I have Rheumatoid Arthritis, and those immunosuppresants don't make our lives easy!

2BigReds 10-12-2011 05:15 PM

Nuisance, it's wound based definitely. Thanks so much for letting me know! How do you get it in your lungs??? I know you can get it in any part of your body but I have bad lungs already so it'd be great to know how to avoid that! D:

Ah, I'm just a medical mess... haha

nuisance 10-13-2011 12:08 PM


Originally Posted by 2BigReds (Post 1198868)
Nuisance, it's wound based definitely. Thanks so much for letting me know! How do you get it in your lungs??? I know you can get it in any part of your body but I have bad lungs already so it'd be great to know how to avoid that! D:

Ah, I'm just a medical mess... haha

Some people with horrible lung diseases, or infections, can be prone to having MRSA infections in their lungs. They are placed in isolation in the hospital, gloves, mask, gown..the whole bit.

Good luck.

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