Worms & Germs Blog

Tag Archives: hospital visitation

Pet therapy dogs and MRSA

Posted in Dogs, MRSA/MRSP
My email and phone have been lighting up over the past few days about news reports describing a study presented at a recent scientific meeting in San Francisco. I wasn’t there and the results aren’t published, so I don’t have a lot to go on, but here are some highlights from the news article on… Continue Reading

Clostridium difficile, hospital visitation and dog risk

Posted in Dogs
A reader has been trying to post a question about an older post on C. difficile in visitation dogs. Here’s the question and my answer: Do the dogs have a risk of getting sick from the C. difficile bacteria?  I understand from the post that they can ingest and shed it in their feces, but the post never… Continue Reading

Personal pet visitation in a Hamilton hospital

Posted in Cats, Dogs
I’ve had a lot of emails about some news reports describing a program at Juravinski Hospital in Hamilton (Ontario) that allows personal pets to visit. Zachary’s Paws for Healing is touted as the first of its kind in Canada (which is far from true, but perhaps it’s the most formal). Animals in healthcare facilities are… Continue Reading

New pet therapy guidance

Posted in Dogs
A new Expert Guidance Document has been released by the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology (SHEA) and published in Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology. R Murthy, G Bearman, S Brown, K Bryant, R Chinn, A Hewlett, BG George, EJC Goldstein, G Holzmann-Pazgal, ME Rupp, T Wiemken, JS Weese, DJ Weber. Animals in Healthcare Facilities: Recommendations to… Continue Reading

Exotic animals in hospitals

Posted in Other animals
What zoonotic microorganisms do pangolins commonly carry? Are some pangolins higher risk than others? What infection control measures should be used? I don’t know, and from a cursory review of the literature, I don’t think anyone really knows. So, do we really want to be exposing them to some of our most susceptible individuals –… Continue Reading

Hospital animal visitation in the news

Posted in Dogs
The New York Times has a nice article on hospitals that allow patient’s pets to visit.  This is a controversial area, with policies (when they are actually present) that range from wide-open access to complete prohibition. Like most things in life, there’s a middle ground that’s the most reasonable. The positive aspects of people being… Continue Reading

Puppy ban

Posted in Dogs
Following outbreaks of campylobacteriosis in a Canberra, Australia nursing home, health officials have recommended banning puppies from aged care facilities. Two outbreaks that involved at least 15 people occurred in one such facility last year, and a healthy puppy was identified as the cause. Unlike many reports in which people try to blame an animal… Continue Reading

Dogs in the delivery room?

Posted in Dogs
Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for pet therapy and animal visitation in hospitals – when it’s done logically. I’ve been involved in research in the area, helped develop international guidelines and am chair of the medical advisory board of one of the largest pet therapy groups in the US. Animals can do great things… Continue Reading

Rudolph inquiry in Scotland

Posted in Other animals
Santa gives the reindeer a few months off every year, so inevitably they’re going to cause trouble. A health board inquiry is under way after a young reindeer was taken into a Glasgow Children’s Hospital and allowed to interact with patients. The reindeer fawn, from a local reindeer farm, was paraded around the hospital grounds… Continue Reading

Pet therapy: What about the risks to the animals?

Posted in Cats
There’s an interesting article in today’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about Scooter, a paralyzed cat in a custom-made cart, that visits patients at HealthSouth Harmarville Rehabilitation Hospital. It’s a nice story and it’s easy to see the potential appeal of a paralyzed animal whipping around a rehab hospital as an inspiration to patients. Obviously, people like having… Continue Reading

Robotic pet therapy?

Posted in Dogs
In 2005, "Paro," an interactive robotic pet, was introduced in Japan. It looks like a baby seal, and has 12 tactile sensors in its fur, touch-sensitive whiskers and a system of motors that silently move its parts. While this "pet" didn’t really catch on in Japan, it’s made its way to the US and ended… Continue Reading

Raw Q and A

Posted in Dogs
While I hate to initiate another round of emails from raw diet supporters, here are a few of the more common questions that I get about these diets and some answers: I use frozen raw food. Doesn’t freezing kill harmful microorganisms? No. Freezing is an effective way to eliminate most parasites (with an adequately low… Continue Reading

More raw debate

Posted in Dogs
Since my post about Delta Society and raw diets, I’ve had multiple questions or comments about the research behind it. Here’s one question: "Please site the research that "clearly show…" that raw-fed animals shed bacteria at a higher rate." Here’s the answer: Lefebvre et al, Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 2009 Study following therapy… Continue Reading

Raw diets banned by Delta Society

Posted in Dogs
Delta Society has recently announced a policy prohibiting animals fed raw meat or raw animal products from participating in their Pet Partners program. This policy was established because of research indicating dogs fed raw meat are much more likely to be shedding harmful bacteria like Salmonella and drug resistant E. coli in their feces compared… Continue Reading

Rabies in a household but hopefully not in a nursing home

Posted in Dogs
.A Texas couple is undergoing rabies post-exposure prophylaxis after an abandoned puppy they adopted was diagnosed with rabies. They found the puppy outside and brought it into their house. One of them was subsequently bitten and they found out about the rabies diagnosis on Christmas eve. One of the couple is quoted as saying "The… Continue Reading

The good and bad of pet therapy

Posted in Dogs, MRSA/MRSP
.An article about a therapy dog demonstrates some good points of these programs and places to improve. The story is about "Taco", a Chihuahua involved in pet therapy at the Livingston Regional Hospital (Tennessee). The obvious benefit of the program is highlighted by the owner’s comment "She creates smiles when there were none." There are… Continue Reading

Antibiotics, pets and Clostridium difficile

Posted in Clostridium difficile, Dogs
Clostridium difficile is a high-profile bacterium, being an important cause of illness and death in people. It can also be found in various animal species, including dogs and cats. In a study we published earlier this year (Lefebvre et al, Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, 2009), factors associated with acquisition of Clostridium difficile… Continue Reading

“Horse strep” in people

Posted in Horses
I received the following question the other day: "I have a friend who had chemo embolization on tumor on liver in late June. She is in hospital now, and an abscess was discovered on liver.  Pathology results said "equine strep".  Her brother visited immediately after procedure, and he works with horse full time." Streptococcus is a… Continue Reading

A need for a better definition of service animals

Posted in Animals, Dogs
Because service animals are so important to the people they assit, they have much greater access to various venues than other animals. In the US, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) specifically addresses service animal access issues. It was a landmark act that ensured appropriate access for these animals so that people who require them… Continue Reading

Pet therapy and patients with multidrug resistant bacteria

Posted in Dogs, MRSA/MRSP
I received this question on hospital visitation animals today… For patients who are on contact precautions for a multidrug resistant organism, what other than hand hygiene could be suggested?  I am currently rewriting our hospital infection control policy related to pet therapy and visitation with clients with a MDRO [multidrug resistant organism]. I was thinking… Continue Reading

Service monkeys and horses…where do we stop

Posted in Horses, Other animals
I was at the annual conference of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America on the weekend. This is a hospital infection control organization, and one of the talks I gave was about animals in healthcare facilities. One question that came up was about unusual service animal species like monkeys. Service animals are specially trained… Continue Reading

Pets and immunocompromised people

Posted in Birds, Cats, Dogs, Reptiles
There was an interesting article in USA Today about the increasing recognition of the positive role that pets can play in patients recovering from serious disease, and how contact with pets can sometimes conflict with disease transmission concerns in these same patients. The attitude towards pet ownership among physicians is highly variable – some recognize… Continue Reading