Tag Archives: dog poop

It makes my tail wag when the poop is in the bag

A common problem for most communities is ensuring that dog parents take responsibility for their dog’s poop.

This brochure at the Town of Needham offices caught my eye…a plea to dog owners and walkers to bag it and trash it…

What initiatives does your town have to ensure poop is scooped?

Municipup says

Kathleen Crisley, Fear-Free certified professional and specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand

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Dog Poop Microbiome Predicts Canine Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Our gut microbiomes — the varieties of microbes living in our digestive tracts — may play a role in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Since dogs can also suffer from IBD, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine analyzed fecal samples from dogs with and without the disease. They discovered a pattern of microbes indicative of IBD in dogs. With more than 90 percent accuracy, the team was able to use that information to predict which dogs had IBD and which did not. However, they also determined that the gut microbiomes of dogs and humans are not similar enough to use dogs as animal models for humans with this disease.

The study is published October 3, 2016 in Nature Microbiology.

jorgie
This French Bulldog, named Jorgie, has recently been diagnosed with IBD. A test based on this research would likely be more cost effective for diagnosis and lead to earlier detection. Photo: K Crisley, The Balanced Dog

“One of the really frustrating things about IBD in humans is that it’s hard to diagnose — it usually requires intestinal biopsies, which are not only imperfect, but invasive and expensive to collect,” said senior author Rob Knight, PhD, professor in the Departments of Pediatrics at UC San Diego School of Medicine and Computer Science and Engineering and director of the Center for Microbiome Innovation at UC San Diego.

According to Knight, most people with IBD have similar changes in the types of microbes living in their intestinal tracts, relative to healthy people. Yet it’s still difficult to discern healthy people from those with IBD just by looking at the microbes in their fecal samples. In addition, Knight said it’s not yet clear whether the microbial patterns associated with IBD contribute to the disease’s cause or are a result of the disease.

In a separate line of study, pets appear to be a conduit for microbe sharing in a house. Knight and collaborators previously found that microbial communities on adult skin are on average more similar to those of their own dogs than to other dogs. With a fair amount of precision, they can pick your dog out of a crowd based solely on overlap in your microbiomes.

In this latest study, Knight and team collected fecal samples from 85 healthy dogs and 65 dogs with chronic signs of gastrointestinal disease and inflammatory changes confirmed by pathology. To determine which microbial species were living in each sample, they used a technique Knight and collaborators popularized, called 16S rRNA sequencing, to quickly identify millions of bacterial species living in a mixed sample, based on the unique genes they harbor.

With this information, the researchers were able to look for similarities and differences in the microbial species found in IBD and non-IBD dogs. The differences were significant enough that they could distinguish IBD dog feces from non-IBD with more than 90 percent accuracy.

The researchers also compared the dog data to 2014 parallel findings in humans. The team found some similarities in the microbial interactions of IBD samples between dogs and humans, however the overlap was only partial. For example, Fusobacterium bacteria are associated with diseases in humans, but in dogs was associated with the non-IBD samples.

The study’s first author, Yoshiki Vázquez-Baeza, a graduate student in UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering and a member of Knight’s lab, noted a potential limitation of the study — there were fewer healthy human samples than IBD samples in the 2014 human data set. But to best of their knowledge, he said, their statistical methods should not be affected by that.

“One of the really nice things about this study is that all of the statistical software packages we used to analyze data are available online, and anyone can see our exact calculations,” said Vázquez-Baeza. “Too often we read about a study with interesting conclusions, but it’s not completely clear how the authors got there. This approach is more open and transparent.”

This approach to diagnosing IBD in dogs is not yet available to veterinarians or dog owners, Vázquez-Baeza said. Moving forward, the researchers would like to study the overlap in IBD and non-IBD gut microbiomes among a series of animals. Zoo animals, for example, experience IBD more often than their wild counterparts, and studying them might help Knight, Vázquez-Baeza and team find key microbial players in IBD across species.

IBD is a family of diseases that includes ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease. IBD is characterized by chronic inflammation in the digestive tract, which can cause pain, severe diarrhea and weight loss. IBD can be debilitating and sometimes leads to life-threatening complications. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that more than 1 million Americans are living with IBD.

Source:  University of California San Diego media release

Picking up is important

It’s National Scoop the Poop week in the USA.

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In 1991, the EPA declared dog poo a non-point source pollutant.  Other non-point sources include herbicides, oil and chemicals (including those used for production agriculture, or in your own back yard).

(Is it any wonder why people are so concerned in New Zealand about cow urine and dung’s impacts on the environment?  A single cow excretes lots more waste than a single dog!)

To get into the spirit of things, the DoodyFree Water Project is giving away 250,000 pet waste bags to dog parks and other green spaces.  You can apply through their website by explaining how a bag donation will impact on your community.  You can also read about DoodyFree projects in your state.

The DoodyFree Water Project is sponsored by waste management company DoodyCalls.

Read my other posts about responsible dog ownership and scooping the poop:

The scoop on poop

The public relations nightmare of unscooped poop

The 5 types of dog walker

Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, Canine Catering Ltd, Christchurch, New Zealand

 

 

 

 

The 5 types of dog walker

A new study in the International Journal of Environment and Waste Management discusses the environmental, health and safety issues of dog walking and, in particular, scooping the poop.

Please Clean UpChristopher Lowe of the University of Central Lancashire in Preston (UK) and colleagues hoped to determine what factors influence dog walker behaviour and how those who do not do the right thing might be persuaded to take charge of their dog mess.

The team suggests that there are five types of dog walker from the most to the least socially and environmentally responsible:

  • Proud to pick up – happy to be seen carrying dog waste, will pick up in all locations and take it home if no bins are available
  • It is the right thing to do – will pick up in public places but will seek to dispose of the waste as soon as it is practical; often embarrassed to be seen carrying bagged waste
  • I have done my job – if there is no bin available will leave the bagged waste to be dealt with by someone else
  • Only if I have to – will only pick up in the presence of other people – likely to discard when no one is looking
  • Disengaged – will not pick up in any situation even if they are aware of the environmental consequences of their actions

Dog faeces are not only as unpleasant as any animal waste, they can also carry parasitic diseases that have health impacts on people and animals that come into contact with them. For instance, they might transmit toxocariasis, via the larvae (immature worms) of the dog roundworm (Toxocara canis), which can cause blindness, asthma and neurological problems in those affected. Dog faeces from animals that eat raw meat and bones are also suspected of causing neosporosis in cattle. The researchers also point out that the presence of dog faeces in country parks, walks and other recreational areas can deter visitors and so have a local economic impact in those areas.

The team’s final thoughts:  The issue of getting dog walkers to do the right thing is both complex and emotive….more research is needed.

Source:  AlphaGalileo media statement

The scoop on poop

I took a course once about personal effectiveness and one of the mantras in it was ‘A place for everything and everything in its place.’   The same holds true when cleaning up after our dogs.

Back in July, I posted my column about the public relations nightmare of unscooped poop.   This column is about the disposal methods that are and are not acceptable for your dog’s poo.

The nasty things in dog poop

A dog’s poop can transmit bacteria like salmonella (and some studies show that there is an increased risk of this when the dog is fed a raw diet).  Parasites like tapeworm, hookworm and roundworms can also live in the feces and exist in the soil for a long time.  Other diseases like distemper or parvovirus can be transmitted through exposure to feces from an infected dog.

Don’t compost or bury

Therefore, adding dog poop to your household compost is not recommended.   The temperature in the compost heap is unlikely to reach a high enough temperature and you can end up transmitting the bugs to you and your family by handling the compost or adding it to the vegetable garden.  Yuck!

Simply burying the poop doesn’t help either.  You are basically allowing any of the bacteria and other nasties to live in the soil environment.

Local authorities with kerbside recycling programmes also ask that you don’t add dog poop to your ‘green’ (garden waste/organics) bin.  This is a public health issue since most materials from organic collections are composted and then re-distributed back to communities as compost for landscaping and gardens.

Don’t place it in the storm sewer

Some owners think it is okay to place poo in the gutter or storm sewer.  It isn’t.  Stormwater drains are directed to open water systems in the natural environment.  The poo will get washed into local streams and rivers and it is just another way of potentially contaminating the environment.

The better options

  • One of the popular methods of cleaning up after your dog is to scoop it up in a plastic bag and dump it in the rubbish.  The advantages with this method are that plastic bags are often freely available and it is a way of recycling the bag for another use.  This method prevents water pollution and can help control the spread of the nasty bugs.  However, plastic doesn’t decompose easily and many owners don’t want to add to the landfill problems in their area.
  • This leads us to biodegradable bags like Flush Puppy bags.  These bags can be safely disposed of in the rubbish or you can flush them down the toilet as long as you are connected to a public sewer system.  For homes on private septic systems, this isn’t recommended because this is an increased load that can overwhelm your disposal system.
  • If bags are not your thing, you can carry a shovel or other type of pooper scooper and wrap the poop in newspaper.  Disposal in the rubbish is okay and both the newspaper and poop will degrade.
  • If you really want to get fancy, you can buy your own composter for dog poop.  One brand is the Doggy Dooley.  This bin is dug into the ground and then special enzymes are added to help break down the waste.

The Doggy Dooley pet waste composter

  • Special bins for worm composting may also work on dog poop.  It is best to contact local services in your area about the types of worms available and the types of bins available for this.

Please put poop in its proper place by disposing of your dog’s poo appropriately.