The Scoop On Cleaning Up After Dogs

According to​ a​ recent survey by Merial Limited,​ when it​ comes to​ scooping the​ poop,​ many Americans feel their pet-owning neighbors deserve to​ be in​ the​ dog house-and with good reason. Neglecting to​ remove dog waste increases health threats at​ parks,​ playgrounds and even backyards. Parasites,​ such as​ hookworms and roundworms,​ may be found in​ animal waste and may be transmitted to​ other dogs and to​ people. the​ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports 10,​000 human cases of​ roundworm infection annually.

"Many pet owners are unaware that intestinal roundworms and hookworms pose serious health threats to​ their pets,​ as​ well as​ to​ the​ human family members,​" said Dr. Peter M. Schantz,​ Epidemiologist,​ Division of​ Parasitic Diseases,​ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Michael Rubinstein,​ clinic director of​ the​ Humane Society of​ New York,​ added,​ "It's important to​ pick up after your pet and ensure that your dog is​ not the​ source of​ a​ parasitic infection. Ask your veterinarian about a​ once-monthly heartworm preventive,​ which in​ addition to​ preventing heartworm will treat and control intestinal parasites."

A national survey of​ both dog owners and non-dog owners found:

• Nearly 38 percent of​ dog owners never scoop up after their pets.

• Ninety-one percent of​ pet owners let their dogs "take care of​ business" in​ their own yards. a​ third of​ that group sometimes or​ never cleans up after their dogs in​ their own yard.

• Eighty percent of​ dog owners don't know dog waste poses a​ human health threat.

Roundworm eggs can remain viable in​ soil for years. as​ a​ result,​ anyone who comes in​ contact with the​ soil can also come in​ contact with infected eggs. Children who play at​ the​ park or​ in​ the​ back-yard and then put their hands in​ their mouth are susceptible to​ infection.

"The best strategy for control begins with keeping your pet healthy,​" says Dr. Rubinstein. He offers the​ following tips:

• Always pick up after your pet to​ minimize the​ chance of​ spreading infection.

• Clean up properly after pets,​ especially around the​ home and lawn. Use tools and avoid direct contact with pets' waste. Wash hands immediately after.

• if​ you​ have a​ sandbox in​ your backyard,​ keep it​ covered to​ prevent animals from using it​ as​ a​ litter box.

• Carry towelettes to​ wipe children's hands frequently after playing in​ a​ park,​ public sandbox and the​ like.

• Ask your veterinarian about Heartgard® Plus (ivermectin/pyrantel). it​ treats and controls most species of​ roundworms and hookworms.

Take your puppy or​ kitten to​ the​ veterinarian for deworming at​ an​ early age and stick to​ a​ regular deworming schedule to​ prevent infection and protect your family.

Note to​ Editors: Heartgard® (ivermectin) is​ well tolerated. All dogs should be tested for heartworm infection before starting a​ preventive program. Following the​ use of​ Heartgard®,​ digestive and neurological side effects have rarely been reported.

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