Boggie is a 4 year old Labrador Retriever mix who came to us with a history of severe sores on his back for over 6 weeks. The owners reported that the problem began shortly after Bogie had been taken in to a groomer for a bath. Boggie had been to another veterinarian and had been placed on antibiotics and medicated shampoo in an attempt to correct his problem. After 6 weeks of therapy, the lesions were getting worse rather than better which is what caused the owner to seek us out for a second opinion.
On presentation, Boggie was quiet and alert. His physical examination was unremarkable with the exception of a large amount of crusting sores extending from the back of his head to the tail. The lesions were present only on the top part of the dog (dorsum), the rest of the body was unaffected. There were no fleas noted on Bogie’s skin at the time of exam.
Given the severity of the lesion, the lack of response to routine therapy and the discomfort that the dog was in, we proposed a treatment plan, which included sedating Bogie, shaving all the fur off the dorsum, taking 2 small skin biopsies and a culture of the purulent material on the wounds. The differential diagnoses that we were considering included infection with Methicillin resistant staph (MRSA), Auto-immune disease which can lead to pustular lesions like this and cancer.
When we sedated Boggie and shaved the fur away, we were a bit shocked to see just how extensive the lesions were as seen in the photo below.
The tests we submitted typically take 4-6 days to return from the lab. In the meantime, we started Boggie on therapy with a new antibiotic, one which we had had success in treating previous MRSA infections. In addition, we started a series of cold laser therapy treatments to help enhance the healing of the wounds. Cold Laser therapy has been shown to reduce inflammation, reduce pain and increase the rate of wound healing. We placed Bogie on some pain medication as well as the back was very painful when he walked.
We continued our laser therapy every other day for 6 treatments while awaiting the lab results. The biopsy report came back showing severe inflammation and bacterial infection, but no signs of auto-immune disease or cancer. The culture and sensitivity report showed a Methicillin resistant strain of Staphylococcus Pseudointermedius. This bacteria was resistant to all but one oral antibiotic (doxycycline).
2 days after 1st laser
4 days after starting therapy
From the photos above, it is easy to see how well the wound were responding to therapy, in particular the laser therapy because pets treated with antibiotics alone, take much longer for this type of lesion to respond. Keep in mind that Bogie had been treated with antibiotics for over 6 weeks with no result. With the right antibiotic and the laser, we achieved 90% healing in a week. Bogie went on to recover fully after 2 weeks of continued therapy.
Methicillin resistant staph infections are becoming a big problem in both human and veterinary medicine. Because of the over use of antibiotics, more and more strains of bacteria are developing resistance to common antibiotics. It should be noted that the staph infection that affects dogs is a different strain (pseudointermedius in dogs vs aureus in humans) and so it may not be as likely to infect a human. However, whenever we are dealing with such a strong bacteria, we must pay close attention to disinfecting the environment, washing our hands after handling the pet and maintaining routine hygiene.
It is possible that Bogie contracted this infection at the grooming salon. There have been reports of pets getting infected from contaminated shampoo bottles or grooming tools used at grooming parlors. To avoid this, it would be wise to bring your own shampoo to the groomer and ask them to use it on your pet. In addition, you should ask to see how they disinfect their grooming tools including their clipper blades, brushes, combs and scissors between each pet.
We don’t want to scare you from using a groomer. Our goal is just to make you aware of this potential hazard.
If you have any questions regarding this case or any other medical issues, feel free to call us at 909-980-3575.