Consequences of dog fouling

EDITOR – There can be nothing more relaxing than to go for a walk with a dog.

Good for the health as it is a great way to exercise and also a great way to relieve stress.

But like with most things in life, there can be another side to the story.

I have just walked past a local playing field and watched a proud owner allow their dog to leave its “calling card” in the middle of the grass.

Most owners are thoughtful and clear up the mess. Perhaps on this occasion it was an oversight, but this owner just walked on leaving the pile behind.

The down side of dog poo is its danger to human health, especially to young children, just the type of people who play in the parks and on the grassy fields around our town.

Most dog owners are aware that dog poo contains roundworm eggs, possibly as many as half a million eggs per “calling card”.

These eggs, Toxocara Canis for those interested, can live in the soil long after the obvious evidence has disappeared, even up to three years.

But what harm can such a small eggs do to a person; after all they don’t hurt the dog.

Well, there are two generally accepted problems; firstly, eggs can enter a human body as a result of the person getting contaminated dirt or plant life on their hands and not washing them properly before eating; the initial symptom of the eggs hatching inside the person or child is extreme fever and illness.

The second, more upsetting and dramatic in its effects, if a single larva invades the retina of an eye via the blood flow; severe damage can occur, leading to severe visual impairment or total blindness.

Most owners’ worm their dogs to stop this, most clean up after their dogs, but some don’t and such an omission could affect a child for the rest of its life.

There were 10 cases reported last year alone so it does happen.

Do people want to feel they are responsible for causing a child to go blind or have liver or heart problems?

I guess not. Dogs can be wonderful fun, but please remember that their “calling cards” can have most alarming consequences as well as being unsightly.

David Riley

On behalf of the Market Rasen Business Improvement Group