Veterinary volunteers pick up pet poop

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There are probably not a lot of incentives that could bring a cat person out to a dog park, but supporting their local veterinarian is one of them.

May 9 was a chilly, overcast day but that didn’t stop Lois Galloway and a small-but-dedicated band of volunteers from spending their evening cleaning up the off-leash dog area at St. Albert’s Lacombe Lake Park alongside staff from Tudor Glen Veterinary Hospital.

Every year for six years running, the clinic has organized a Poop-a-thon at the park, turning the prospect of picking up dog poop into a competition and a fundraiser.

When Dr. Tammy Wilde approached Galloway about joining the event this year, Galloway didn’t have to be asked twice.

“It’s important to be out here and have people with their dogs coming by and seeing that there are people willing to help, and that they should be cleaning up after their pets as well,” she said.

She also thinks it’s important to support those people who help your pet if they eat poop polluted by parasites.

This year, three teams competed in the Poop-a-thon, with Team Tammy coming in first, picking up 29.7 pounds of poop. Second was Team Beth with 19.7 pounds, and third was Team Jen with 18.5 pounds.

Wilde, a vet with the clinic, says aside from being unsightly and smelly, pet poop can be dangerous to your pup’s health – not to mention potentially dangerous for your kids – if it’s left where it falls.

“You worry about worms, different parasites, and you worry about them contaminating the environment – and then transmitting it to kids, especially,” Wilde said.

“Everyone loves to bring their dog here, and they should. And they shouldn’t feel fear. It would be great if people routinely de-wormed (their pets) to prevent parasites, and then try to clean up.”

Wilde and her team of supporters usually pick up between 100 and 150 pounds of dog poop during the Poop-a-thon, and the clinic tries to send away samples every year to figure out how much has been contaminated.

“One year, we sent out 25 samples, and 17 of them were positive for roundworm eggs,” she said.

One also came back positive for Giardia, a protozoa that causes Giardiasis, more commonly known as beaver fever.

That parasite can infect people as well as animals.

“It can contaminate our water sources and they pick it up by drinking out of contaminated puddles or lakes,” Wilde explained.

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April Hudson

April Hudson joined the Gazette in 2017. She writes about city issues and municipal politics. She also writes general news and features.