Are dirty pet toys making your dog sick?

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Veterinarians agree, your pet's toys could be causing health concerns in more than just one way.

Dr. Lynn Happel, Veterinarian and Owner at Eastown Veterinary Clinic, is encouraging pet owners to wash their toys at least once a month, saying their favorite toys can be a source of reinfestation.

"More times than not it's a respiratory corona virus or a micro-plasma bacteria hiding in their toys," Happel said.

Other harmful fecal contaminates could be hitching a ride on your pet's toys, including E.coli or Giardia, which can transmit to humans. Dr. Happel says many of these diseases can be transferred from pet to pet, others get their start at local dog parks.

"That's why dog parks are kind of like cesspools for parasites. Even if people are good about cleaning up after their dog, you can get micro amounts of stool stuck on the grass and then you have a dog who goes and eats it or eats the grass," said Dr. Happel.

Other health concerns include tooth-tip fractures from tough toys. Happel says anything you can't indent with a fingernail can break teeth. Pets can even suffer from serious intestinal issues if they swallow string or plastic from a toy.

So to find out just how much bacteria is present on dog toys, we took a sample of four used dog toys and a dog bed to Summit Laboratory LLC. for testing.

Technicians will test for E.coli and total microbial loading to see what the general overall population of bacteria is on those toys. Results are expected in 48 hours.


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