No Dog or Cat Feces in the Garden
Keep dog and cat droppings out of your garden and compost pile. While many animal manures make valuable soil amendments, parasites carried in dog and cat feces can cause diseases in humans.
Dog and cat droppings often contain roundworms and other parasitic nematodes. Gardeners can ingest roundworm eggs from soil contaminated with dog or cat feces. Contaminated soil often is carried to the mouth by dirty hands, especially among young children, or the edible parts of fruits and vegetables. Infection by just a few roundworms usually causes no problems, but more severe infections may cause fevers, bronchitis, asthma, or vision problems.
Another concern with cat feces is toxoplasmosis, a parasite that infects humans and other animals. Of all creatures, only cats are known to excrete oocysts--a form of the parasite that can survive in the environment for years and is resistant to most disinfectants.
Toxoplasmosis is a serious concern for pregnant women, persons with AIDS, and patients receiving immunosuppressive treatments. Most others who contract toxoplasmosis exhibit mild symptoms, such as headaches, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, or sore throats. Humans become infected with toxoplasmosis primarily by injesting contaminated food and water. Gardens are a secondary source of infection. Roundworms and toxoplasmosis need not deter you from gardening.
The following precautions will minimize your chances of contracting either:
For more information about these diseases, contact your local health department.
Source: the Gardener, Vol 7 No. 2, Summer 1996, Van Bobbitt, community horticulture coordinator, WSU Puyallup
For further infomation contact your local WSU Extension Office.
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Composting With Worms
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