Dog poo ‘not very dangerous’

17:36 29 March 2012

Archant

Controversial reader view.

I’m afraid the letter you published on dog poo is just typical of the degree to which the public is misinformed and out of touch.

It most certainly is not ‘very dangerous indeed’ to come into contact with dog poo, nor can it cause blindness in a child.

Firstly, the poo would have to be infested with toxocara canis, a parasite which has been almost completely eradicated from domestic dogs, and secondly it would have to be ingested to have any effect at all.

There are about 10 cases of toxococariasis in the whole of the UK annually and, in the vast majority of cases, the infecting agent is fox or feral cat excrement.

You are more likely to be struck by lightning, bitten by a venomous snake or struck down by one of the ‘forgotten’ diseases like diphtheria, even if contact is a daily event, and modern treatment methods mean that even should you be infected blindness is off the table as a consequence.

Unpleasant though it may be to step or fall into, dog poo represents effectively no danger by comparison with many of the naturally occurring ‘deposits’ the sea throws up onto the beach every day.

Meanwhile, the best veterinary advice for dog owners is to have at least two whenever possible. Some rescue centres will not even release dogs to a home where they would be alone, believing that a companion is essential to being looked after ‘properly’.

In any case, the cost of vaccinations and worming, basic equipment and food means that each dog costs a minimum of £300 to £500 per year (of which no small part is taxation, of course) which makes £5 here or there of little or no consequence.

Barry Etheridge

Seaton

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