Roger Salmon column

Roger Salmon.
Roger Salmon.

Recently I was walking in the countryside and was shocked to see two bags containing dog faeces left by the side of the path.

If owners were caring enough pick it up why not put it in another bag and take it home for disposal?

Everybody has seen the signs in the street warning that failure to pick up the mess left by your dog is a breach of the bye-laws introduced by local authorities all over the country and this applies to other areas also.

Dog owners therefore have both a legal and moral duty to dispose of their pet’s waste products.

Humans are infected by the accidental ingestion of infected Toxocara eggs present in contaminated soil, unwashed hands or raw vegetables, or by ingestion of larvae present in the raw or undercooked tissues of meat.

Risks of Toxocariasis in humans are particularly high in:

*Children with pica (an abnormal craving for substances that are not fit to eat) as they are more likely to ingest eggs from soil.

*Children between two and four years of age.

*Individuals growing up in a poor neighbourhood.

The fur of dogs has been seen as an important source of human infection and of particular risk in puppies and young dogs less than six months of age and in kittens.

Toxocara eggs are common environmental contaminants of public parks due largely to the high density of freely roaming dogs and cats in urban areas.

Infective eggs can last for months to years in the environment and withstand extreme temperatures.

The clinical manifestation of human Toxocariasis vary from a asymptomatic infection to severe organ injury such as damage to the eye and optic nerve.

Some forms cause headaches, fever, anorexia, abdominal pain due to the larvae migrating through the body.

Fewer than 10 cases are reported yearly but this may be underestimated as the disease is difficult to diagnose.

Worming your dog or cat is recommended every month until they are six months old and then every three months throughout life although some vets recommend every month particularly if you have young children.