I'm updating the story of Kyrie's struggle with the canine version of MRSA, a multi-drug resistant staph infection, MRSI. (Sometimes that "M" is for "methicillin" but in this case, it's for "multi-drug." Lucky us.)
After her first round of antibiotics was over, the infection came right back. Knowing what I know today, I believe we made a mistake in antibiotic choice. Even though the culture showed that the strain was sensitive to Baytril, I've since learned that these bacteria become resistant to that family of drugs very easily, and experts are now recommending they not be used, no matter what the culture and sensitivity testing indicates.
And sadly, Kryie didn't tolerate the Batytril well. She barely ate at all while she was on it; I had to hand-feed her to get enough food on her stomach to give her the drug. And the last week or so she was flooding urine while she was asleep, even though her urine culture was negative and her kidney function was completely normal. It was a nightmare.
The only other drug to which the bacteria was sensitive, at least on the first round of testing, was amikacin, which is extremely hard on the kidneys and has to be given intravenously, daily, in the hospital. I didn't want to put Kyrie through that, but I also didn't want to wait for another culture, as the last time, this thing spread like wildfire and caused her significant pain and suffering before we got her on the right antibiotic.
So her vet and I made the informed decision to try a three week course of chloramphenicol. We didn't know if the strain of staph was or wasn't sensitive to it, as it wasn't in the initial sensitivity testing, but it's very frequently effective against these bugs. So we gave it a shot.
The same thing happened as with the Baytril: One dose and her infection cleared up immediately, and this time, no side effects.
Tonight, two days after we finished the course, it started to come back.
I'm in a state of complete despair. I've done an enormous amount of research on this, and I feel almost hopeless right now. I know what I have to do -- take her to a dermatologist, do another culture and sensitivity test against more drugs, and probably keep her on antibiotics for a much longer time -- hopefully one that doesn't make her sick. And Kyrie does have insurance, although so far I haven't sent in her more than a thousand dollars in veterinary bills. I'm feeling overwhelmed and paralyzed. (Click on the photo, above, to see a larger image; and yes, it's pretty gross.)
I've also researched medical grade honey, and am looking at the possibility of trying that topically and orally, but while it's shown some effectiveness against MRSA infections in people, I'm skeptical.
And as seems to happen every single time she starts to flare up again, tomorrow is Friday, meaning it's highly unlikely I can get her into the dermatologist before the weekend. So I either put her back on chloremphenicol, which will mess up the culture, or I let her suffer over the weekend, which I can't do, or I hope her local vet can see her and possibly do the culture herself.
I'm not normally this indecisive, but this is breaking my heart and scaring the crap out of me.
I never wanted my dog to become the poster child for drug resistant staph in dogs. I really didn't.