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Border Collies may be new defender against E. Coli

Border Collies May Be New Defender Against E. Coli

Scientists' new defense against E. coli isn't medicine -- it's dogs.

Researchers sent Border Collies to patrol stretches of beach along Lake Michigan to keep seagulls from landing on the sand. What seems like a fun exercise for the sheep dogs could actually help prevent the spread of E. coli infections from seagull droppings.

Birds are known to carry a plethora of diseases that can spread by someone simply inhaling their feces. So while you're laying out on the beach and unaware of any "leftovers" lying by your face you could be at risk.

The study at Lake Michigan proved to be successful. They found bacterial numbers were significantly lower where the dogs had patrolled over the summers of 2012 and 2013.

According to the BBC, high levels of E. coli have caused beach closures around the world. It also cited a recent report that showed roughly a third of bacteria samples taken from seagulls were resistant to more than one antibiotic.

Beaches in the U.S. have used trained animals like hawks and falcons to fend off seagulls for the same reason, but the gulls are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and can't be harmed. This new study could provide a better option.

On the other hand, scientists are a bit worried about the risk of bacterial infection that could come from the dogs doing their business on the beach.

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Cathy Sapp May 21 2014 at 11:00 AM

Yet thousands of dogs live in households with yards where families walk around, and play and most don't get sick. We are living in a world where anti bacterial and anti microbial products are making people sicker, due to making those microbes and bacteria resistant to those anti microbial/anti bacterial properties. Regular washing in soap does the job just fine.

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2 replies
dickn2000b Cathy Sapp May 21 2014 at 12:27 PM

What does your rambling rant have to do with seagulls being chased by dogs to prevent ecoli? Answer: Not one damned thing!! So families have dogs that roam their yards...So What?

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9 replies
mpetzak Cathy Sapp May 21 2014 at 6:45 PM

Cathy Sapp - you are right. Too much "get away from germs" b.s. Germs, bacteria, etc. help build our immune system - not against all; howver, without germs and bacteria, we will all be living in globes without our natural ability to fight them.

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csunbean May 21 2014 at 12:11 PM

Yeah Border Collies

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turqea.blue May 21 2014 at 1:07 PM

They are great dogs!!!

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1 reply
shaybird turqea.blue May 22 2014 at 8:13 AM

Yes they are!

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m4christ2 May 21 2014 at 2:21 PM

personally, i think dogs are a gift from our Creator. they love, care for, worry about, watch over us, much as the Father does. without them, most of us would be lost. their loves holds us close and gives us hope, friendship, companionship and someone who never judges us no matter what we do. thank you, God, my Father, for caring about me enough to give me dogs to love and be loved by.

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3 replies
Bob May 21 2014 at 1:04 PM

Ya gotta love Border Collies. Watching them instinctively try to herd gulls is always good for a laugh. Gentle, yet protective.

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sknydippr1 May 21 2014 at 11:47 AM

It is weird. My border collie HATES birds and squirrels. On the other side...he will sit there and let a rabbit walk right by him. Go figure.

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mrck922 May 21 2014 at 6:25 PM

There is an idiot on my street who FEEDS these stupid things! I feel like I live at the town dump. Despite being asked to stop this practice and presented with articles like the above showing that they spread disease, I had to call in the State Fish and Game people to deal with her - several times and fine her before she would finally comply with what is a law against feeding them.

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enaswilson May 21 2014 at 2:34 PM

Hooray for the dogs, however, the birds are "gulls" not "seagulls".

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nikkitytom May 21 2014 at 3:29 PM

Good grief. I hope a huge amount of money isn't being spent on this "research". Next thing we'll be told to wear gas mask so we don't "inhale" the bacteria.

NONSENSE. When over 40% of males don't wash their hands after using the bathroom and when virtually ALL the population insists on the horrendously filthy custom of hand shaking ... there's your problem.

Wash your hands ... and STOP shaking hands. When someone bows or folds their hands together, DON'T force a handshake on them. And a man should never be the initiator of that handshake with a woman. Never.

We have more colds and viruses than any country I can think of ...and I blame it on this hateful handshaking. Just think of how many people swipe their noses or even pick them, dig at their teeth, wipe their eyes or touch the corners of their mouths .. and then offer a handshake. And that's not even mentioning what they do in the bathroom. Think of where that hand has been before you offer it or accept it.

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1 reply
rnjn nikkitytom May 21 2014 at 6:19 PM

I agree totally about hand shaking. It's a terribly unsanitary practice. How many times have you been eating in a restaurant and someone you know comes by and insists on shaking your hand....while yo're eating, ick! And while I'm at it I have another pet peeve--blowing out candles on a birthday cake. You just blow your germs onto a cake that's being eaten by your guests. Even worse at children's birthday parties where kids are the worst germ spreaders.

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paddleman1928 May 21 2014 at 4:32 PM

we are afraid of EVERYTHING-people have been near bird poop for thousands of years and survived

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1 reply
mrck922 paddleman1928 May 21 2014 at 6:26 PM

Maybe not

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