Buddy was just going crazy. He was running around the room, his ears on high alert, tail stiff as a stick, eyes wide open. He was barking at the top of his lungs. Lorna was not feeling well. She said she wanted to take a nap.
“What’s wrong with Buddy?”, John was irritated by the noise . “Let me take him out of her room. She needs to rest.”
John walked into the bedroom. Lorna was on her bed, covered in purple fleece blanket up to her neck.She opened her eyes for a moment, but heavy eyelids dropped uncontrollably. John looked at her pale face. Her thin lips were chapped, nostrils flaring with every breath. She did not want to go to the hospital this time.
“Do you need anything?”, John asked taking her thin hand in his warm sweaty palm. He felt the wedding ring loose and now too big on her bony finger.
“No. Just need to rest,” Lorna whispered back.
Buddy was losing his mind.
He was incessantly barking at thin air. Sometimes he would bark at incoming storm, but the sky was blue and cloudless .
“Buddy! Stop! At once! “, John commanded, but his dog soldier did not listen. Instead ,he jumped on Lorna’s bed and started licking her face. Lorna opened her eyes with effort and tried to smile at her baby.
“Buddy! Sit! Sit!”, John was trying the tricks from obedience school.No response. Barking intensified.
“Darling I don’t know what is up with him now! Let me take him out. Maybe that will calm him down”, John was trying to find the solution. He opened the bedroom door and pulled Buddy by his collar out. “Will be back in five.”
“Come on friend. Let’s give Lorna a little break.” Buddy went out unwillingly. He stood by the backyard gate, pawing the fence to get back in. It seems that his barking intensified further as John stood confused by the gate and decided to let him back in. Buddy stormed into the bedroom and jumped on Lorna. Her nostrils were no longer flaring, her hand with wedding ring one size too big, rested limp on the purple fleece.Barking stopped. Suddenly, like it started. Buddy licked her face one more time and put his head on her chest.It was motionless and silent.
John stood at the door watching the scene until it started to blur from heavy tears .
“Lorna! Lorna!”, he cried looking at her calm spiritless face. She was gone. In those five minutes. For ever.
Buddy jumped off her bed and looked John in the eye. In that moment they connected spirit to spirit, eye to eye, connection crossing the interspecies boundaries .
“I am sorry. I am so sorry. I did not listen. Sorry Buddy. You were trying to tell me.”
John bended down and kissed his dog between ears. He than walked to Lorna, kissed her cold yellow forehead and stood watching her face , trying to remember every detail for eternity.
Humans have shared their lives with domesticated animals and pets for thousands of years. Dogs are often related as human’s best friends. They share our space and participate in out lives like dear family members. By living in close proximity we share with them not only our homes but also our microbes.
Have you ever been licked by a dog on the face or nose? Than you know what I am talking about. This innocent and friendly exchange of emotions creates the bridge between the human and dog species to share the microbiological contents of their mouths with us.
One study looked at the bacterial species shared between the owners and their pets, and found S intermedius, E coli, E faecalis, P putida and S aureus. In some instances they shared similar resistance patterns to antibiotics tested.
In another study variety of staphylococcal species were isolated from the oral cavity of cats . Resistance to many antibiotics was discovered and 56 % of the strains had plasmids that have potential to transfer resistance among themselves.
A study from Spain finds low prevalence of CPE, carbapenemase producing Enterobacteriaceae.
Oral micro biome is associated with many diseases. It can be transferred by close physical contact. Future studies are needed to determine zoonotic potential of such an exchange.
But if you have a furry friend be aware of the unintentional biologic oral exchange . That’s easier than to make your dog brush his teeth.
1) Sharing bacterial microbiota between owners and their pets (dogs,cats)
Wipler J et al Klinik Mikrobiol Infekt 2017 Jun 23 (2)48-57
2) Obesity and Associated Comorbidities in People and Companion Animals : A One Health Perspective
Chandler M et al J Comp Path 2017 May 156(4); 296-309
3)Influence of Pig Farming on the Human Nasal Microbiota : The key role of the airborne microbial communities
Kraemer JG et al Appl Environ Microbial 2018 Jan 12
4) Survey of Carbapenemase Producing Enterobacteriaceae in Companion Dogs in Madrid, Spain
Gonzalez-Torralba A et al Antimicrob Agents Chemother 2016, Mar 25 25; 60(4): 2499-501