The Oct. 7 story with the sensationalist headline “Therapy dogs can give kids superbugs” unfairly impugns therapy dogs when the underlying issue is cleanliness in general.
The article makes it quite clear that therapy dogs Pippi, Poppi, Badger and Winnie were most likely contaminated with the superbugs by people after the dogs entered the hospital. The article also says that the contamination can be remedied by wiping dogs’ fur with anti-bacterial wet tissues. It is thought that this simple precaution greatly reduces the risk to patients.
Of course, therapy dogs should be kept clean, but if people in hospitals wash their hands more frequently and if hospital surfaces are disinfected more effectively, therapy dogs won’t be contaminated after they arrive.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.