A new pilot study involving Oxfordshire dogs and their owners aims to understand the effect of river pollution on dogs' health.

Dog swimming in river CC0/Pixabay

Our rivers are chronic recipients of sewage. The implications of this on the health of dogs that use our rivers for swimming, playing and drinking have not been assessed.

Oxford's Interdisciplinary Microbiome Project (IMP) and NERC Centre of Ecology and Hydrology have begun a new pilot study, gathering data to begin to map out the microbes that dogs are exposed to when interacting with the River Thames. Drs Jamie Lorimer and Carmen McLeod at the School of Geography and Dr Andrew Singer (NERC CEH) began gathering data and samples as part of their pilot study at Bullcroft Park in Wallingford on the 18 November 2017.

This research involves a mixed methods approach, including the analysis of genetic material from dog faeces and a qualitative survey, with follow up interviews and a focus group with dog owners.