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October 23, 2009


John Sullivan

How common are these in American dogs? From the description it sounds like they're a negligible health problem for the dogs. True? These guys can't make the jump to dog owners?


The papers I read suggested that theyre pretty common in dogs and wild canids worldwide, but only occasionally cause serious health problems. And there wasnt any indication that they can survive in people. But the idea that theyre lurking in your pets saliva? Ewwww.

Thom H.

Ewwww is right. I try not to think about these sorts of things. At one point I worked in a food laboratory. One of the things we tested was milk. There is an allowable level of E. coli for the milk to pass grade-A standards. It's not a high count but some can be detected and still pass. We also tested bread microscopically for rat hairs and insect parts. Again, there was an allowable amount. Mmmmm... insect parts and rodent hairs... yum, yum.

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    Diane Kelly is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where she studies the neural wiring and mechanical engineering of reproductive systems.
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