Concerns over increasing reports of Neospora outbreaks in cattle have been highlighted, with farmers urging dog walkers to ‘bag it and bin it’.
Neospora, an infectious parasite, does not harm dogs but they can carry the disease, often going undetected.
The disease does, however, cause harm to cattle and sheep and it can result in the abortion of unborn young. The impact can result in significant costs and distress for farmers.
NFU Cymru Rural Affairs Board Chair, Hedd Pugh who attended the National Access Forum for Wales, said the public must pick up after their dog.
“In recent months, NFU Cymru has received increasing reports of outbreaks of Neospora in cattle. These are coming from all areas in Wales,” Mr Pugh said.
“The disease is found in dog faeces, which can contaminate the animals’ grazing pasture. That is why it’s important that dog owners always pick up after their dogs.
“Dogs owners are also encouraged to keep their dogs away from animal food and water troughs as the disease can also be spread that way.”
Mr Pugh concluded: “The impacts of Neospora can result in significant costs and distress for farmers. We hope, through highlighting this disease and its impacts to the 40 or so organisations represented on the National Access Forum, we can raise awareness of this issue to access user groups and promote the ‘bag it and bin it’ message to dog owners.”
Denbighshire farmers John and Stephen Tudor had to cull some of their herd thought to have been infected from their feed.
The pair have now taken to social media to ask the public to clean up after their pets.
They said tests showed the cows, which lost their young in late pregnancy, identified Neospora as the cause.
They tweeted: “Unfortunately, infected cows had to be culled as they will continue to abort every year.
“We have no issues with people walking their dogs along the footpaths, and know that some do clean up after them, therefore, this is an appeal to those who don’t.”