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The concerning rise of the canine superbug - MRSP

3 July 2015

MRSP is the animal equivalent of the human superbug, MRSA, which is frequently in the news headlines. It is a worldwide problem, first appearing in the USA in 1999, with the first European case being reported in 2007.

Bacterial skin infections are very common, and are amongst the top 3 skin diseases diagnosed in dogs and cats. Staphylococcus Pseudintermedius (S.pseudintermedius) is a bacterium commonly found on the skin or in the nose or intestinal tract of many healthy dogs and cats. It usually causes no problems, unless an animal is injured or ill and may then cause symptoms such as an inflamed rash with ‘spots’, hair loss and scaling, with deeper infections sometimes resulting in skin lumps and bleeding.


Skin lumps caused by a Staphylococcus pseudintermedius infection

Skin lumps caused by a Staphylococcus pseudintermedius infection


Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Pseudintermedius (MRSP) is a form of S.pseudintermedius that is highly resistant to most commonly used antibiotics, and increasingly, there are very few suitable antibiotics remaining to successfully treat this.

Importantly, skin infections due to multidrug resistant strains like MRSP and MRSA are no ‘worse’ than those caused by more sensitive strains. They are however more challenging and difficult to treat when they occur and they are contagious to other animals and humans, so control over the spread of these strains is vital.

Often MRSP can be treated successfully with topical antiseptic products, without the need for antibiotics. In more severe cases where antibiotics are needed, swabs should be taken to grow the bacteria in a laboratory environment so that the most suitable and effective antibiotic can be established.

If you are concerned about MRSP or want to know more, please contact your veterinary surgeon.


Staphylococcus pseudintermedius (S.pseudintermedius)

Staphylococcus pseudintermedius (S.pseudintermedius)


Antibiotic selection based on laboratory culture

Antibiotic selection based on laboratory culture


To assist owners whose pets have skin problems, we have a selection of information sheets which cover a number of the dermatology conditions that we commonly see in our practice.