- Children with cancer can benefit from a therapy dog program if potential exposure to methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is mitigated with a “simple” decolonization program.
- Antibacterial shampoo and wipes result in significant transmission reduction, according to findings presented at IDWeek 2018 in San Francisco.
Why this matters
- Therapy dogs help reduce stress and anxiety in these patients, but the risk of MRSA is real.
- The simple protocol used here helps make interaction between the children and dogs possible.
- “Because they go from session to session, the dogs can pick up and spread MRSA,” said Kathryn Dalton of Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. “This simple, low-cost intervention helps increase patient safety.”
- Children who interacted with untreated dogs had an 8.01 greater odds (95% CI, 1.1-15.2) for increased risk of becoming MRSA carriers.
- If dogs had been treated with wipes and shampoo, this increased risk disappeared.
- Children interacting with the dogs had reduced BP, heart rate.
- 45 children and 4 dogs were included in the study.
- Dogs were shampooed with chlorhexidine, with wipes used every 5-10 minutes during visits, or not, and MRSA colonization evaluated.
- Conference report; not peer-reviewed.