This past weekend I was saddened to hear that a photo was circulating showing coyotes eating a cat in Rotary Park in Ajax. It is frightening to know that coyotes are so close to our neighbourhoods. With all the new developments around us, their habitats are being taken away from them, forcing them to come closer to us to find their food source. This includes our pets. In my neighbourhood I often see notices of missing cats or small dogs, and it makes me cringe thinking that a coyote or fox has gotten them. Please keep your cats indoors and your dogs leashed and under close supervision.
A few weeks ago I was out walking Yukon and Charley and there was a coyote sunning itself in the school yard. Too close for my comfort. A neighbor was walking her dog down towards the lake and when she got to the path, there was a coyote laying there. We must be careful.
Besides the concern of our pets being attacked, there is also mounting evidence that the tapeworm Echinococcus multilocularis (E. multi) may be spreading amongst coyote and fox populations in Canada. This has some researchers concerned about spill-over of this infection into dog and human populations where there is urban-wildlife interface.
Some types of E. multi infections can cause serious health problems in human and animal populations (e.g. cyst formation), however the risks for such an infection are low – only a handful of cases in humans have been diagnosed in North America.
Risks can be minimized by:
- Proper handling of dog and wildlife feces and proper handwashing
- Controlling rodents and preventing pets from catching and eating rodents
- Preventing dogs from eating wildlife feces
- Routine deworming should kill E. multilocularis and if a dog is at a particularly high risk, more regular testing and treatment may be indicated
Please speak to your veterinarian about intestinal parasites that can be a concern to you, your pets and your children.
Take Care, Dr. Fulop.
The Star Article: ajax-coyotes-cat-dinner-adds-to-residents-unease
University of Guelph Article: Echinococcus multilocularis
Source information: CVMA