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.