Dr. Wayne Davis: The dangers of dog poo | CraigDailyPress.com

Dr. Wayne Davis: The dangers of dog poo

Dr. Wayne Davis/For the Craig Daily Press

Before I went to vet school, I assumed the laws about not having dogs in parks had more to do with them defecating and urinating where children play. Well, yes. But it turns out it was more than just how yucky it is to have to clean up a child after they have stepped or rolled in dog “poo.”

That’s bad enough, but dogs also may be carrying parasites that your children could get. Dog feces (poo) can have eggs in it that can infect your children if ingested… that’s a nasty thought.

You may ask, “Well what kid is going to eat that stuff?” Realistically all it takes is a few (or many) microscopic eggs that have been washed out of the poo by the sprinklers. Next a child has his or her hands in the grass and chews on their fingernails or sticks their fingers in their mouth…Yuck!!!

You bet, that’s yucky. Some of these parasites end up migrating through the organs (lungs, liver, brain etc.) and one in particular has a predilection to end up in the eye, causing loss of vision. Estimates vary from 100 to 300 cases a year (larvae in the eye). Yep, that’s right, a worm in your child’s eye.

Other types of roundworm eggs hatch in the grass and the larva crawl around in the grass. A barefoot child or a child laying in the grass with bare skin may have these larva (microscopic worms) penetrate the skin and crawl around in and under the skin. I saw a close up photo of a dewdrop on a blade of grass with one of these larvae in it… made me quit chewing on blades of grass.

We do have some of these parasites in Craig. We don’t have nearly the levels that are present in more humid states, but they are here. I grew up in Colorado, and I remember having an itchy spot on my forearm near my elbow. The itchy reddened area had an s-shape to it. The first time I saw a photo of cutaneous larval migrans in vet school I realized it had happened to me as a child, probably from laying in the grass.

So… before we “poo poo” a law, maybe we should take a more in depth look as to why it’s there.

Dr. Wayne Davis is the owner and the veterinarian at Craig Veterinarian Hospital.Dr. Wayne Davis is the owner and the veterinarian at Craig Veterinarian Hospital. Dr. Wayne Davis is the owner and the veterinarian at Craig Veterinarian Hospital.

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