PDSA

My dog eats my cat’s poo, and my cat catches and eats wildlife. Can he catch anything from this?

James Farrell advises…

There are not many diseases that pass from wildlife to cats and from cats to dogs, but there are some and there is a potential for humans to be infected too, so good personal hygiene (especially for children and pregnant women) is always recommended.

The most common thing to be passed on would be worms, so regularly worming your dog (and your cat) would be a good way to prevent this. Most vets recommend worming every three months, but if your cat is regularly catching wildlife and your dog is regularly scavenging, I would recommend every month, as wormers clear out the intestine when administered – they do not have a lasting effect.

Pregnant women must not handle cat faeces (or dog faeces if the dog could have eaten the cat faeces), as the toxoplasma parasite can harm unborn babies. Regularly de-fleaing your dog and cat will also reduce the worm problem, as fleas are infected with worm eggs.

Most dogs have pretty robust digestive systems, but bacterial infections could also be picked up this way (cats can have some nasty bacteria like salmonella in their intestine occasionally). It would usually cause diarrhoea and possibly vomiting, so if your dog displays any of these signs, then a trip to the vet is recommended.

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