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The truth about dog waste bacteria

October 21, 2010

There’s a new program in the Portsmouth area, the Seacoast Canine Owners Outreach Program, or SCOOP, which is educating dog owners about the dangers of not picking up after their dogs.  Here’s the Seacoast Online article

“SCOOP’s main goal is to educate the public on the health hazards that are contained in pet waste left behind on our coastline,” he said. “Dog waste is made up of nearly 100 percent E. coli bacteria, which is communicable to human beings and can cause salmonella poisoning, among other things.”

However, that article generated a response from two doctors.

Human beings, in fact, need the healthy population of E. coli, which live in our guts. On occasion, owing to antibiotic use and misuse, human gut E. coli takes a large hit, and what results is an overgrowth of less friendly bugs, like clostridium difficile, which causes a very nasty diarrheal illness.

Human stools are loaded with E. coli, but the largest component, by far, is anaerobic bacteria. Neither is particularly likely to cause disease in man. Dog feces have a similar composition.

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