I was finally able to take Kitsune out for a decent walk around the park this morning. There was so much damage to the park during the hurricane (I know I said I wouldn't talk about it anymore - this is it I swear!) that until recently it was closed to the public. The park was still a mess this morning, but at least it's open now. Kitsune and I spent our morning walking around getting some much needed fresh air and exercise.
Most people who know me know that I love all animals - geese included! Our local park is home to a gaggle of Canadian geese. They are fun to watch, and while I don't have any predigests against the geese themselves, there is something about them that I'm not too fond of - their poop!
Okay I know - no one really likes poop, no matter what species of animal it comes from. But what makes me particularly hate goose poop is that, for some reason, Kitsune seems to love it. And yes, by "loves it", I do mean that he tries to eat it. Dogs! As much as I like to think that Kitsune is above your average run of the mill poop eating canine, he does have a thing for goose poop. A goose poop loving pet and a park full of geese does not a good combination make!
Goose poop, like most fecal material, can carry bacteria such as Salmonella and E.Coli. Luckily, the digestive tracts of most healthy dog's are good at destroying these types of bacteria. However, if you have a dog with a weakened immune system you should be extra careful, as they may be more susceptible to infection.
For most dog owners with fellow goose poop aficionados, the main concern is usually parasites. Specifically, the parasite Cryptosporidium is commonly carried by geese. It usually cause GI issues, such as diarrhea, weight loss, and/or poor appetite. Testing and medication from your vet can be expensive. In severe cases, the symptoms of parasite infections, if left untreated, can lead to dehydration and death.
I'm crossing my fingers that our peaceful walk in the park doesn't lead to some less than peaceful days to follow. Puppies, senors, and dogs with compromised immune systems are at a higher risk of developing parasite or bacterial infections from eating feces, but occasionally healthy pets can be effected as well. The best thing to do, if you have a dog who tries to eat poo, is to teach him/her the 'leave it' command. That's something I really have to start working on more with Kit. Worst case scenario, if your pet does consume goose (or any other type of) feces, know the signs of the most common types of parasite and bacterial infections (hint, most of them cause GI issues) and get your pet to a vet for treatment as soon as any symptoms occur.
Kitsune and I will continue to enjoy our morning walks in the park as long as the weather permits, however I am definitely going to start carrying treats with me and working on teaching Kit not to eat things he finds on the ground.