Therapy dogs may carry germs

Therapy dogs may carry germs

Dangerous pathogens can be spread from humans to dogs and back again, one study finds.
source-image
Jul 17, 2009
By dvm360.com staff

Therapy dogs spread cheer and goodwill to hospital patients. But a new study shows they may also spread germs. Researchers from the University of Guelph’s veterinary school in Ontario, Canada, found that viruses like methicillin-resistant staphylococcus (MRSA) and Clostridium difficile may have been transferred to therapy dogs when patients handled or kissed them, or through exposure to a contaminated environment. The researchers examined 26 therapy dog-and-handler teams in 2007, testing the dogs’ forepaws and their handlers’ hands for the pathogens before they entered medical facilities.

The researchers then compared the results before the teams entered the facilities to those after they left. After visiting an acute-care facility, one dog was found to have C. difficile on its paws. In a separate instance, MRSA was detected on the lead researcher’s hands after handling a dog that had visited a long-term care facility.

The authors of the study concluded that to contain the spreading of germs, hospital patients and dog handlers should follow recommended hand-sanitation procedures.

The study was published online in the March 28, 2009, issue of the Journal of Hospital Infection.

Hot topics on dvm360

Dog of Dallas Ebola patient will not be euthanized, authorities say

Health officials have quarantined and will monitor dog and amid concerns surrounding deadly virus.

Video: How to perform a belt-loop gastropexy

Prevent GDV in your at-risk patients with this simple technique.

Stretch your skills to earn more in veterinary practice

Finding new tasks could be the key to generating more income for your practice—and boosting your pay.

Veterinary community stunned by Sophia Yin's unexpected death

Prominent veterinary behaviorist died of suicide Sept. 28.

Study shows sustained salary slump for veterinary support staff

Since 2009, technicians paid by the hour have experienced a bump in pay, but pay for other team members has stayed stagnant, according to data from the 2014 Firstline Career Path Study. Here’s a look at changes in team pay from 2009 to 2013.