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Tapeworm in dogs could be costing UK livestock millions

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Charities and pharmaceutical firms are rallying to elevate the conversation around tapeworm in dogs and their hidden costs on the UK farming industry. As reported in Vet Times, research commissioned by pharmaceutical company Vetoquinol UK suggests a stark lack of awareness among dog owners. Approximately half of the country’s dog owners are uninformed about the connection between tapeworm in dogs and livestock health, thus putting an economic burden on the farming sector.

This is a topic that has recently been spotlighted by Luke Gamble, founder and CEO of Worldwide Vet Service (WVS). He underscored the urgency, stating, “Tapeworm can be a real issue and be passed on to livestock, which in turn costs our farming industry millions of pounds each year.” It’s not just livestock that are at risk; even humans can fall prey to diseases transmitted via pet waste.

A survey by OnePoll, conducted for Vetoquinol, reveals unsettling statistics. More than one-third of dog owners admit to leaving dog faeces behind in rural areas, unwittingly creating a trail of tapeworm eggs. These findings are alarming given that sheep, a known intermediate host for tapeworm, contribute to infections costing UK farmers over £11 million in 2021 alone.

Yet, this lack of awareness isn’t just confined to rural spaces. Another study by Vetoquinol’s parasitology research team discovered that only 54% of dog owners are currently treating their dogs for tapeworm. “We’re aiming to give tapeworm issues a renewed voice,” a spokesperson for the company announced, adding that while other parasites have been prioritised in public campaigns, tapeworm are often neglected.

What are your thoughts on the increased awareness around tapeworm and their broader impacts?

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