The intestinal parasites and bacteria found in dogs can pose a risk to public health, especially when owners do not pick up their dogs’ faeces when out walking. The aims of the study were to investigate parasite levels between owners who collect faeces (as collected from dog bins), compared to those who fail to collect (as collected from the ground); and to compare levels of antimicrobial resistant (AMR) bacteria in the two faeces types (collected and not).
Faeces samples were obtained from 11 different areas, that were a mix of rural, suburban, and urban locations, in and around Lincoln City. Then estimations of the total number of parasites per gram of each sample, and the parasite species were determined using faecal floatation technique. Antibiotic resistant bacteria were identified by attempting to grow bacterial colonies on agar plates that had antibiotics mixed in with the agar, and using the disk diffusion method.
The statistical analysis showed that collected samples had a greater parasite burden than uncollected, with a p value of 0.032. Samples obtained from urban areas had a much higher parasite prevalence compared to rural samples (p value was <0.001), however the rural samples had higher percentage of AMR bacteria (which is a cause for concern as most uncollected samples were found in rural locations). The most common antibiotics that the bacteria were resistant to were tetracycline, and colistin sulphate which is used to treat acute infections in people, that have been caused by multidrug resistant Gram-negative bacteria.
The study highlighted the need for antibiotic stewardship, and to educate pet owners on the importance of regular worming/flea treatments, along with collecting their dog’s faeces even if they are in rural areas, as the presence of zoonotic parasites and AMR bacteria poses a great risk to public health.
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