Friday, April 5, 2013

If We Are What We Eat, What Happens If We Eat Poop?

Today's question is one I get frequently..and one I address myself.

"My 1.5 year old Yorkie Poo is finding rabbit poop in our yard and eating. So far my 11 month old Maltese has not started this habit. Is it dangerous? And how do I get the Yorkie Poo to STOP?
Thanks for your help."
Jekyll the rabbit tracker and the boys.

Hello Dawn,
Thanks for your question.
I have to tell you that I hear you! I understand your dilemma and I want you to know that you are not alone!
Many of us move to no area that has amenities for us. I moved to the country for the open spaces, peace, solitude, and love of nature. BUT, I moved to a part of the country close to two major metropolitan cities so I can sneak in for the arts, the culture, and the gourmet food. I have the best of both worlds. For my pups they got open fields, and an ever abundant supply of things to play with, chew, and also a smorgasbord of wonderful things to eat.
My dogs have a long and varied list of delectable tid bits that they can find right outside my front door. Of particular delight is the ever abundant wildlife feces. My dogs are not discriminating. They love to eat rabbit and deer feces and they roll in ground hog poop, (which I will add is the most vile excrement imaginable).
Because we are both in the same boat I will tell you what I do and what I recommend.
The consequence of eating rabbit poop can be gastro-intestinal upset (vomiting, diarrhea, etc), parasites, and some diseases.
The only way to avoid these consequences of feces ingestion is to keep them from being accessible (keep the wildlife out), or keep your pet from eating them (by picking up feces, pretty much impossible with deer and rabbit poop, or keeping your pet on a leash with you and under constant supervision). In all honesty I will tell you that I am not doing either.
What I do is keep my dogs on a heartworm preventative that also protects against intestinal worms, and I check a fecal sample every six months, or anytime I get a bout of diarrhea.
In reality I will also confess that I know all of my patients eat poop, (in Northern Maryland we are buried under wildlife and there resultant waste products), and most do very well. When we get diarrhea we check fecals and de-worm as needed.
I would recommend you discourage your Yorkie Poo and see your veterinarian if you have an ill pup.
Once again thanks for your question.
I hope this helps.
If you need any assistance from me you can find me at Jarrettsville Vet.
Best of Luck,

Here's Charlie. Lover of all things poop-ey.
He will eat it and roll in it!
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