ABC-Animal  -  Parasitology Chronicle

Scooping for Fido - I Leave My Dog's Messes with parasites in the Neighbour's Yard!

Your dog does his business in the neighbour's yard and you leave it there. What perfect material for a neighbourhood argument!

What Does the Law Say 
The law varies from one place to another. But all self-respecting municipalities have a regulation that includes fairly large fines for those who break it.
But do you know the origin of this regulation? Besides hygiene, this is first and foremost a serious human health threat due to Toxocara, a parasite found in animal feces. Toxocarosis (the disease caused by Toxocara) is a zoonosis (disease transmitted from animals to humans).

What is Toxocara
Toxocara is a parasite found in the intestines of dogs and cats.
An adult intestinal parasite produces many eggs and leaves them in the feces of the host animal.
Frequency: Approximately 10% of dogs tested by veterinarians excrete Toxocar eggs in their feces.
Resistance: The egg is extremely resistant to disinfectants – even pure bleach has no effect on it. It can live on the ground outside for up to 5 years.
Egg: The egg is covered with a layer that allows it to adhere EVERYWHERE – on hands, toys, vegetables from the garden… It is therefore very easy to ingest them. The rate of Toxocarosis is high among preschool children who bring everything to their mouths.
Health Problem: Each ingested egg becomes an adult worm that can travel within the body for years. Sometimes a worm migrates into the eye where it destroys nerve cells, causing vision problems or blindness. In Atlanta, a one-year study revealed that one person out of 100 has this worm in their eyes. The study also showed that many adults between the ages of 30 and 50 have Toxocarosis.

Contaminated Environment
So if you leave fecal matter on the ground and your pet is a Toxocara carrier, this area will now be contaminated for the next 5 years and it is impossible to decontaminate it. Your animal can become re-infected, other animals can become infected, and you and members of your family can become infected.

Think Prevention
Every day, pick up your dog’s waste using a bag, a pail or an adapted tool
.  Call your vet to get your pet tested and de-wormed or treated for intestinal worms

It’s true that dogs are man’s best friend, but make sure they are in good health. Protect them and yourselves! And above all, talk to your neighbours about it!

Alain Villeneuve, D.V.M., Ph. D.
Veterinarian, Professor of parasitology
Faculty of Veterinary Medecine, University of Montréal, Saint-Hyacinthe, Québec, Canada
Author of the book : « Les zoonoses parasitaires : l’infection chez les animaux et chez l’homme »
Edition : «Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal
», 2003