Friday, 30 October 2009

The Government, bugs and upset tummies

DEFRA has funded some research into what bugs are found in our dogs tummies. Who'd have thought what with the recession biting and there being so many other pressing things to worry about - like global warming, war, meteors and X factor being ruined by John and Edward that we'd have money and time to fritter away contemplating our dogs' navels!
Will the nationals read this press release and just skip the main details that we've nothing much to worry about and jump to the conclusion that dogs can make us poorly.
What is the betting?
And when will the powers that be just accept that dogs are a normal part of our family life - just as they have always been for the past 100,000 or so years?
Why sniff around for a scientific reason to make dogs optional in society rather than just accepting they're just a normal part of our lives.
Most people who get campylobacteriosis recover completely within two to five days, although sometimes recovery can take up to 10 days. So they were investigating the bugs that give people an upset tum - not exactly the Ebolavirus! But will the nationals see it in the same way?
The study found that young dogs or small dogs are more likely to carry Campylobacter upsaliensis. But this variety of bug doesn't cause tummy upsets in humans in any case!
Now I for one could have lived quite happily all my life without finding this out, but the Government had to find out.
Another study at the same uni - again government funded - about worms and dog poo was wildly misinterpreted by the general media and I have to say I'm expecting this one to go the same way, too.
The answer I got last time as to why we were paying scientists to look very closely at poo was that the Government needs to know much more about how closely we live with our pets so that if we do get a new superbug they'll know how it might spread.
It seems Big Brother wants to know if we're sharing our bedrooms with our dogs and now also if we're sharing our tummy bugs.
Is anyone doing research on how many bugs we catch from our children? I get so many bugs brought home from school and the poor teachers must get everything going - but I'm sure we'll all keep reproducing - this is just part of life after all.
Can someone fund some research into what the Government is up to commissioning all these studies into dogs?

Here's the science bit...
Scientists at the University of Liverpool have undertaken a study of the prevalence and carriage of a gut bacterium, Campylobacter upsaliensis, in dogs in a community in Cheshire.
Campylobacter upsaliensis
is commonly found in household pets but studies to date have focused on dogs in kennels or veterinary practices. The study aimed to investigate how common Campylobacter upsaliensis was in dogs in a household setting and to identify what factors were associated with the risk of its spread.
is the most common cause of gastrointestinal infectious disease in people in the UK. However, it is the Campylobacter jejuni and Campylobacter coli species which are the common cause of gastrointestinal infectious disease amongst humans, whereas Campylobacter upsaliensis only very rarely causes problems in people. Samples of faeces were taken from 183 healthy pet dogs from households in Cheshire and tested for Campylobacter upsaliensis and other Campylobacter species. Their owners completed an in-depth health, behavioural and lifestyle questionnaire which asked, amongst other factors, where the dog slept, its diet, how frequently it was walked, and how it behaved with people. Of the 183 dogs tested, 43 were found to have Campylobacter upsaliensis which represents a prevalence of 25.2%. One dog tested positive for Campylobacter jejuni and one for Campylobacter lari. Analysis of the results found that there was increased likelihood of dogs carrying Campylobacter upsaliensis if they were less than three years old; if they were a small or tiny dog; if they lived with another dog who had tested positive for Campylobacter upsaliensis; if they were fed commercial treats or fed leftover titbits in the dog’s bowl. The study also found that there were a number of factors that did not have any bearing on the presence of Campylobacter upsaliensis. There was no evidence of any association between the reported health of the dog (including vomiting or diarrhoea) and Campylobacter upsaliensis carriage. There was also no evidence to suggest that dog treatments or veterinary care (for example treatment for fleas, worms or vaccinations), nor eating or rolling on other dogs` faeces, or dead carcasses, increased the risk. The investigation was funded by DEFRA. The study is published in the Veterinary Record in October 2009.


Anonymous said...

Pointless waste of money and time. Taxpayers money down the drain once again *sigh* no wonder this country is in trouble...

HandH said...

Given that the Health Protection Agency already monitor the transmission of disease from animals to humans (aka zoonoses), it seems like a waste of public money.

for the most recent position.

Incidentally, when you look at the rate of toxicara transmission, one case a year? You have more chance of being struck by lightning than catching anything from dog poo.