David Nield writes Your Cat Could Carry ‘Good’ Bacteria That Fight Resistant Staph Infections:
Bacteria from healthy cats have been shown to produce antibodies with some impressive skin healing properties… in mice.
A new study on these properties indicates we could one day harness such antibodies to potentially treat infections on humans as well as other animals.
This approach is a type of bacteriotherapy – using ‘good’ bacteria known to provide various health benefits to help protect against ‘bad’ bacteria (or pathogens). It’s a balance that scientists are constantly getting new insights into.
Here, researchers used cat bacteria to protect against the methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus pseudintermedius or MRSP pathogen in mice: this bacterium is often found on domesticated animals, and can proliferate out of control when they’re sick or injured.
The results of the study suggest that good bacteria found on cats offer strong protection against MRSP – not just in mice, as was shown in this case, but potentially also in human beings who can pick up the good bacteria as well.
“It may even be possible that living with a healthy cat provides humans with some protection against MRSP,” says medical scientist Richard Gallo, from the University of California San Diego. “So this may be an argument in support of pet ownership.”