This is the second in our series of posts about scooping dog poop in the park; the pun in the title is intentional.
Most of the park’s fields are let to a local farmer who takes two cuts of grass from them each year. That crop is sold on, as hay or silage, mostly to feed horses and farm animals. Some of it, though, will end up in your gardens in rabbit and guinea pig cages. If the hayfields are contaminated with dog faeces, so is the hay.
Dogs are part of the life cycle of two parasitic organisms that cause diseases, neosporosis and sarcocystosis, in farm animals. In dogs, they rarely cause symptoms, are hard to diagnose and almost impossible to treat, but the parasites’ eggs will be present in the dogs’ faeces. In cattle or sheep who become infected by eating feed contaminated by faeces, these parasites can induce abortion, cause neurological problems, and even result in the death of the animal.
Sarcocystosis and neosporosis are caused by the same organisms that, in horses, can cause equine protozoal meningitis.
The prevalence of neosporosis and sarcocystosis in dogs and farm animals is unknown in the UK, but it is thought to be common and very much under-reported. As there is no effective vaccination or treatment for either, vets recommend avoidance: don’t feed your pet raw meat and don’t leave dog faeces on agricultural land.
Most of the park is agricultural land, producing animal feed; please clean up after your dog.
This is the second post of a spring campaign; let’s keep our park poop-free.
Pictures: Google Images