Tag Archives: faeces

Dog waste and waterway contamination

Credit: Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Thinkstock

Credit: Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Thinkstock

Americans love their dogs, but they don’t always love to pick up after them. And that’s a problem. Dog feces left on the ground wash into waterways, sometimes carrying bacteria — including antibiotic-resistant strains — that can make people sick. Now scientists have developed a new genetic test to figure out how much dogs are contributing to this health concern, according to a report in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Orin C. Shanks, Hyatt C. Green and colleagues explain that our waterways are susceptible to many sources of fecal contamination, including sewage leaks and droppings from farm animals and wildlife. Contamination from dog feces is a concern because it can harbor antibiotic-resistant strains of E. coli and other bacteria and parasites that can infect humans — and there are nearly 70 million domesticated dogs in the U.S. Scientists have had few tools to determine the extent to which waste from dogs is adding to the pathogens in rivers, lakes and beachfront surf. Current methods look for certain genes from gut bacteria that end up in dog feces. However, this is not foolproof — the microbiota of humans and the canine pets they live with often overlap, making the analysis complicated. So Shanks’ team set out to create a more specific test.

The researchers developed a new genetic testing method to specifically detect canine fecal contamination in water. They identified 11 genetic markers that were common among most of the dog samples but missing from the human ones. To determine whether their method would work for real-world monitoring, they sampled storm water from a rain garden where people often walk their dogs. The technique successfully detected some of the same markers they had identified as evidence for canine waste.

Source:  ACS news service

Sometimes, kisses are not allowed

When this happens at our house, I say ‘There will be no kisses for the rest of the day!’

Poop cicles

UK research supports worming and cleaning up after your dog

Researchers at the University of Bristol’s School of Veterinary Sciences have published their research, which supports the need for ongoing worming of dogs and the need for owners to clean up their dog’s poo.

At issue is the parasitic worm, Toxocara, which are a rare cause of disease in humans, responsible for occasional cases of abdominal pain, loss of sight, and potentially asthma and epilepsy.

Using data from the University, the researchers estimated relative contributions of dogs and the other hosts of the parasites, cats and foxes.   With the help of additional information from a previous study, the researchers estimated that nearly four tonnes of dog waste are produced in Bristol each day and nearly 1,000 tonnes throughout the UK.

Given that each adult female worm can lay 12,500 eggs or more per day, this equates to around 3.7 billion eggs shed per day within the city of Bristol.

“These results are not all that surprising but they are likely to differ widely between places. We provided a method for estimating different sources of contamination with Toxocara eggs anywhere in the world.  This will hopefully help locally appropriate control measures to be put in place. The data also provides a baseline against which future changes can be measured, as we currently lack any good evidence of how effective steps such as anti-fouling legislation are in reducing egg load and human disease” says Dr Eric Morgan the lead author of the paper.

The research team’s findings have been published in the journal Veterinary Parasitology.

Source:  University of Bristol media statement