can dogs get MRSA

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a bacterial infection known for its antibiotic resistance. While MRSA is commonly associated with humans, pet owners are worried that their dogs could catch it as well. Knowing the risks and implications of MRSA in dogs is crucial to their health. 

This blog post will explore can dogs get MRSA, its causes, symptoms, and treatment options. By examining the nature of MRSA, its transmission, and its potential impact on dogs, we aim to provide valuable information to pet owners. Let’s get started.

Can Dogs Get MRSA?

Can Dogs Get MRSA

Recently, MRSA has garnered increasing attention as a potential threat to dogs. MRSA infections are more commonly associated with humans, but there’s growing evidence that dogs can get infected, too.

Studies have confirmed the presence of MRSA in dogs, indicating that the bacteria can colonize their skin and mucous membranes. Several factors can spread MRSA to dogs, including infected people, contaminated environments, and shared living spaces.

Additionally, dogs with compromised immune systems and certain breeds may be more susceptible to MRSA infection. Dogs who get frequent veterinary care or are in contact with healthcare settings might be more prone to MRSA.

Although MRSA infections don’t always cause obvious symptoms, they can still pose health risks to the dog and others. Proper diagnosis and treatment are essential for managing MRSA infections in dogs, highlighting the necessity for veterinary care and surveillance.

Symptoms of MRSA in Dogs

It’s hard to diagnose MRSA infection in dogs because the symptoms can vary and overlap with other common canine health issues. However, there are certain signs that dog owners should be aware of:

  • MRSA infections in dogs often appear as skin lesions, such as boils, abscesses, and wounds that don’t heal. Redness, swelling, or discharge may accompany these lesions.
  • MRSA can cause respiratory infections in dogs, resulting in coughing, sneezing, and difficulty breathing.
  • The symptoms of infection may include fever, lethargy, reduced appetite, and weight loss in infected dogs.
  • There can be lameness, swelling, and pain associated with MRSA infection in severe cases.

Some dogs infected with MRSA do not show obvious symptoms. Routine screening and vigilance are crucial, especially in high-risk environments, as some may be carriers without showing any symptoms.

Consult a veterinarian immediately if you suspect your dog may have MRSA or if they exhibit any concerning symptoms.

How to Diagnosis MRSA in Dogs

The diagnosis of MRSA in dogs requires a clinical exam, lab tests, and microbiological analysis. Based on the dog’s symptoms or history of exposure, the vet may recommend the following diagnostic steps:

Clinical Examination

Veterinarians examine dogs thoroughly for signs of skin lesions, respiratory symptoms, or systemic illnesses.

Sample Collection

For laboratory testing, samples may be collected from skin lesions, nasal swabs, or other infected sites. An analysis will identify and determine an MRSA strain from these samples.

Microbiological Culture

Lab tests are performed on samples collected from the dog to isolate and identify the bacteria. It is possible to perform specialized tests to determine antibiotic susceptibility.

Imaging Studies

If the MRSA infection spreads to joints or bones, imaging studies, such as X-rays or ultrasound, may be recommended to assess the extent and complications.

Managing MRSA infections and minimizing complications requires prompt diagnosis and appropriate treatment. 

Treatment of MRSA in Dogs

Treatment of MRSA in Dogs

Treatment for MRSA usually involves eradicating the infection, easing symptoms, and preventing recurrences. Some of the treatment options include:

Antibiotic Therapy

While MRSA is resistant to many antibiotics, certain medications may still be effective against it. A veterinarian will prescribe antibiotics based on bacterial cultures and susceptibility testing, such as clindamycin, doxycycline, or trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. 

Wound Management

The management of wounds associated with MRSA infection in dogs is crucial. Depending on the situation, you might have to clean, disinfect, apply topical medications and dressings, or even drain abscesses surgically.

Supportive Care

MRSA can cause systemic symptoms in dogs, such as fever, lethargy, and decreased appetite. Providing supportive care, such as adequate hydration, nutrition, and monitoring for complications, can help the dog recover faster.

Environmental Management

It’s important to implement strict hygiene measures and infection control protocols to prevent MRSA spread. It includes disinfecting surfaces, removing infected materials, and isolating animals if necessary.

Follow-up Monitoring

Follow-up visits with the veterinarian are essential for monitoring the dog’s response to treatment and assessing the healing progress of any wounds or lesions.

Prevention Strategies for MRSA in Dogs

A combination of proactive measures is necessary to prevent MRSA infections and reduce the risk of transmission. Pet owners can implement the following prevention strategies:

Maintain Good Hygiene

Bathing and grooming your dog regularly helps keep their skin clean and reduces the risk of bacterial colonization. Make sure you use pet-safe shampoos and grooming products.

Practice Proper Wound Care

Whenever your dog sustains a cut, scrape, or wound, clean and disinfect it promptly. Consult your veterinarian if any infection signs appear during the healing process.

Avoid Sharing Personal Items

Keeping towels, bedding, and grooming tools separate from other dogs can prevent the spread of bacteria. You should also regularly wash your dog’s belongings with hot water and detergent.

Limit Contact with Infected Individuals

Take precautions to avoid direct contact with your dog if you or someone in your household has an MRSA infection. Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling your dog, especially if you have open wounds or cuts.

Promote a Healthy Immune System

Your dog’s immune system can help him fight off infections more effectively. Make sure your dog gets regular veterinary checkups, gets their vaccinations up to date, and eats a balanced diet.

Reduce Exposure to Healthcare Settings

Your dog should only visit veterinary clinics and hospitals when necessary. When you’re there, follow any infection control protocols and hygiene recommendations provided by the staff.

Practice Environmental Cleaning

Regularly clean and disinfect your home environment, especially high-touch surfaces and areas frequented by your dog. Make sure you’re using pet-safe disinfectants recommended by your vet.


Can you Get MRSA from a Dog Scratch?

Although it is relatively rare, MRSA can be contracted from a dog scratch. Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is a bacterium that is resistant to many antibiotics. Community-acquired MRSA infections can occur from a variety of sources, including contact with infected animals.


Our exploration of whether dogs can get MRSA reveals that the risk does exist, but it remains low. However, it’s essential to be vigilant and understand what’s going on with our canine companions. You can reduce your risk of MRSA infection by taking care of your pet, getting veterinary care, and taking care of your wounds. Fostering a healthy environment starts with keeping yourself and your dog informed. 

Frank Washington

I'm passionate about canine wellness, particularly skin health. Drawing on years of experience and ongoing research, I hope to provide useful insights and practical tips to help dog owners ensure their pets have a vibrant, healthy coat. As a proponent of natural and holistic care, I founded as a resource center for fellow dog lovers looking to nourish their pet's skin from the inside out.