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MRSA IN ANIMALS Is Targeted By UK Animal Welfare Charity At Crufts 2007

15 years ago

2nd March, 2007 00h00

sloane-girlies.gifThe Bella Moss Foundation sponsered by Pet Plan wil raise awarness of MRSA in animals. THE BELLA MOSS FOUNDATION is a testament to one woman’s belief, determination – and her love for her pet. The Foundation was launched in 2005 to tackle one of the most worrying diseases to threaten the health of the UK’s pets. Shocking evidence has emerged that the ‘superbug’ MRSA - Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus - that kills over 5,000 patients a year in British hospitals, due to lack of basic hygiene is now killing pets in the same way. Vets are being urged to clean up their surgeries and operating theatres after a heartbroken dog owner saw her beloved dog die of infection from the deadly bacteria last year. Bella, a ten-year-old Samoyed dog is believed to be one of the first recorded cases of a dog dying of MRSA in the UK. Her owner, actress Jill Moss, 35, of Edgware, North London has launched a campaign to educate pet owners and vets about the risks to animals. Jill Moss believes that Bella may have picked up the infection while undergoing surgery for a routine knee operation. On July 17th 2004 Bella was doing what all dogs do – chasing a squirrel, when she ruptured her cruciate ligament in the knee. Jill rushed her to the surgery, where a vet performed immediate surgery, usually a straightforward procedure to repair the damage. Bella was allowed home after treatment, but she became ill in the week following surgery, and the vets treated her for postoperative pain. Her wound burst open with pus and she was admitted as an emergency. After one week as an in-patient at the hospital her condition worsened. Jill continues: “I removed her from this surgery that I had trusted for years and fought to get her into a specialist orthopaedic vet hospital in Bedfordshire. On the day we arrived, she had to undergo emergency surgery. I was informed that the infection in her leg (which had been present now for three weeks and untreated) was MRSA and had eaten away at her ligaments. The treatment she received at the specialist hospital saved her life and the plan was after her discharge that she would have reconstructive surgery on the knee. On admission, Bella was in septic shock with pneumonia and hours from death. The first veterinary hospital had not detected any of this.”   Following her discharge from the specialist hospital, Bella became ill again. The referral hospital advised that the journey back to them was too long and that Jill should take her to the first vets as an emergency. This she did, based on an assurance from the senior partner that all would be done for Bella, but events took a tragic turn and Bella’s condition worsened.   “The last three days of Bella’s life I was confined in a room with her and the vet staff refused to treat her because of MRSA and I had to nurse her myself,” says Jill.   Bella, usually so lively and expressive, was now almost just a shell. Jill knew she now had to think the unthinkable, knowing that Bella wouldn’t get better, so having discussed the matter with the senior vet, Jill agreed that Bella should be put to sleep. Fired with a determination that no other animal should suffer unnecessarily as Bella had done, Jill set about bringing the issue to the attention of the veterinary profession and the public at large. In March 2005, together with her partner Mark Dosher, she launched the Bella Moss Foundation at Crufts dog show. The rest, as they say, is history. Jill says:  “I cannot bring Bella back but I do hope that Bella’s story will go some way towards ensuring that no other animal or owner has to suffer as I have. I hope that people will be able to challenge the way their pet is treated, and use the knowledge of my experience to get better treatment in the future.” Bella Moss Foundation Milestones Websites: and

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