It is well known that canids can incubate and facilitate the spread of bacteria and parasite species that are harmful to both humans and livestock, with incorrect disposal of faecal matter being a large contributor. The increased movement of dog-walkers between urban, suburban, and rural locations due to the SARS CoV-2 pandemic lockdown has been evident across the UK, and with it we could see increased incidences of infection. This study sought to investigate whether faecal samples collected from differing areas of population density would differ in levels of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and/or parasite prevalence, and whether dog owner attitudes towards faces disposal and elements of care had any correlation with this. Samples from different locations around Greater Lincoln & Lincolnshire were tested against several antibiotics, from both human and veterinary medicine, as well as parasite counts and questionnaire data on ownership aspects were assessed. The study found that rural areas possessed higher levels of AMR, with several noteworthy multi-drug resistant (MDR) strains identified and colistin sulphate having the highest incidences. Parasite data was also dependent on area; however, it was suburban areas that scored highest. Some parasite species identified are of concern due to the nature of infections they can cause, despite having lower counts than other species identified in this assay. Ownership attitudes towards faeces disposal correlated with these findings, and therefore it is suggested that improved frameworks should be implemented by veterinarians to highlight the dangers of incorrect faces disposal on livestock.
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