For a healthy yard, healthy pets and healthy kids … Clean Up The Poop!

One of those necessary chores when we have pets is cleaning the waste from our yards and walkways. If you’re like most pet parents, carrying a plastic bag full of poop while out on walks is not a new – or fun – experience with our animals. What you may not know is that there are significant reasons why removing and disposing of that waste may be essential for the health of your family, your pets and your environment.

Zoonotic diseases are illnesses that can be passed from animals to humans. When it comes to pet feces, there are 4 major parasitic ailments that can be passed to humans by contact with infected feces.

Hookworms are intestinal parasites transmitted by fecal to oral contamination from infected animal to non-infected animal. Your pet may eat contaminated feces or dirt, or run through contaminated soil, then lick its paws and ingest the worm eggs or larvae in that manner. Humans can pick up the eggs or larvae on the skin from soil or animal feces and acquire a “traveling” rash at the site of infestation.

Roundworms, commonly found in puppies and kittens, pass across the placenta from the pregnant mother to her unborn fetuses. The infection develops while the babies are in the uterus and they are born positive for roundworms. Most often, humans ingest soil contaminated by roundworm eggs or larvae by not washing their hands or by eating vegetables raised in contaminated soil.

While the adult immune system is able to fight off the worst of a roundworm infection, some organ damage has been diagnosed in patients with chronic roundworm infections. In small children, roundworm infection shows most often as “ocular larva migrans.” Roundworm larva travels underneath the skin to the eye and reside inside the globe of the eye, causing irritation and sight disorders.

Toxoplasmosis is a zoonotic disease found most often in cats. Outdoor cats – and those that eat raw meat – are more likely to contract the disease from their food sources. Children and immune compromised adults are advised not to scoop or sanitize a cat’s litter box as any toxoplasmosis-positive kitty can be shedding the infection in the stool.

Cryptosporidiosis is a protozoan parasite found in water. Infected animals can transmit “crypto” by defecating in lakes, ponds, and other bodies of water. You and your pet can acquire the disease through swimming or other contact with contaminated water. Pets become infected when they swallow Giardia that may be present in water or other substances that have been soiled with feces.

Environmental contamination is a common problem resulting from leftover pet poop. Pet waste and other pollutants are carried directly into gutters and waterways by storm water. That waste may contain harmful organisms such as Giardia, Salmonella and E. coli that can be transmitted to humans and other animals by ingesting that contaminated water. Additionally, animal waste adds nitrogen to the water. Excess nitrogen depletes oxygen in water necessary for the livelihoods of fish, wildlife and underwater grasses.

It might be the law in your area to pick up your pet’s feces. Many urban and suburban communities require that you clean up after your animal. Even without any restrictions, cleaning up pet poop is the right thing to do.

Neighborhood harmony results when your good manners prevent your neighbors from stepping in pet waste and spreading it into homes, cars and businesses. Daily scooping stops those nasty dog and cat odors that can creep into backyards and outdoor festivities. Cleaning up feces halts the growth of the fly population that can carry disease indoors.

If you need help keeping your yard clear of pet poop, contact VIP Pet Services to assist with your waste pickup needs.

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