The City of Calgary Animal & Bylaw Services and Parks departments are supporting a scientific study being conducted by researchers with the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Calgary on parasites in dogs. The study includes an online survey regarding dog walking activities and a request for pet owners living near six specific recreational sites to provide samples of their dog’s feces.
For the 6,000 licensed dog owners who've received a request for participation, here's a little more information.
Q: What’s the purpose of this study?
A: Researchers are examining the prevalence and strains of some gastrointestinal parasite species in park-attending and non park-attending dogs living in close proximity to six popular recreational sites.
Q: How will this survey help?
A: Researchers hope the findings will shed some light on how parasites are passed between and among domestic and wild animals in urban parks.
Q: Why do you want samples of my dog’s feces?
A: These samples will be compared with samples from coyotes and wild rodents in the same parks that are being collected within another project carried out by the same research group.
Q: The study will focus on dogs from communities neighbouring parks in Nose Hill, River Park, Southland, Bowmont, Weaselhead and Fish Creek Provincial Park. Why have these parks been selected?
A: These are popular parks Calgary dog owners and these areas have been studied by University of Calgary researchers since 2010 as an interface between domesticated animals and natural wildlife.
Q: Is there a benefit to me by participating?
A: In return for handing over a doggy sample and filling out the survey, participating dog owners can receive the results of the lab analysis of their dog's feces. This analysis, which can cost more than $100, will provide specific information about their dog's health and will be shared with their veterinarian, if needed.
Q: Why is Animal & Bylaw Services involved?
A: Animal & Bylaw Services believes in actively partnering with community agencies, associations, and organizations to inform our decisions, and meet the needs of Calgarians. Animal & Bylaw Services has collaborated with the University of Calgary, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine for several years.
Any questions can be directed to University of Calgary PhD student, Anya Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 403-210-7405.