Plea to dog owners after Kingston Lacy cattle infected with parasite
TWO cattle in the prize-winning Red Devon herd at Kingston Lacy have been infected with a parasite which is spread from dog poo.
As a result, dog owners are being urged to pick up afte their pets.
Two of the cattle have been found with Neospora caninum
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Although the meat is still perfectly safe to eat, having two of the herd's 52 cattle infected could affect the breeding line of the pedigree herd if it continues to spread.
Neospora is a parasite which infects the cattle after eggs in the dog poo get left in the grass they graze on. It can cause weak calves and abortions and there is no known cure.
Peter Samson, the National Trust's Head Ranger at Kingston Lacy, said the best way to protect the herd from further infection is for anybody walking their dog to pick up any dog poo and put it in the dog waste bins.
"Our dog bins do already get well used but it only needs one or two owners to not pick up after their pets to put decades of work in caring for this herd at risk. We would appeal to all dog owners to please pick up every time when walking their dogs. Making sure they are wormed regularly will also help to prevent the spread of diseases such as this."
The biggest worry is that the disease can be passed on from the cows to their calves, meaning new animals born into a herd can only be used for beef, rather than to further develop the breed.