Dog dirt can be fatal to cattle

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The CLA in the North is reminding dog owners to clean up their pet’s mess when walking in the countryside.

The membership association for the owners of rural land, property and businesses has issued the call after a dairy farmer near Huddersfield saw more than 20 calves aborted by their mothers because of a deadly parasite which can be picked up from grass infected by dog faeces.

CLA North Director of Policy and Public Affairs Douglas Chalmers said: “There may be no obvious symptoms in a dog, but the effects of this parasite - Neospora caninum - can be devastating in cattle and there is no known treatment.

“We welcome visitors to the countryside but anyone who brings their dog should make sure it has been wormed and also remember to pick up and remove any mess. Even if there aren’t any animals visibly grazing in a field, they may do in future, or the grass may be cut and used as feed through the winter.”

Neospora caninum affects mainly cattle, dogs and other animals such as foxes, although it can also affect sheep, goats, deer and horses.

The parasite lives in both dogs and cattle, but only reproduces in dogs. It can be transmitted to cattle which graze on infected grass.