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Can dog mess cause epilepsy? Myth-busting

This page is about National Epilepsy Week 2013. Find out how you can get involved in 2016.

Myth: Dog mess can cause epilepsy

Fact: It is very unlikely that you would develop epilepsy after coming into contact with dog faeces

Various dogs

Dog fouling and epilepsy

It has been reported that dog mess can cause epilepsy. Some local authorities have used this message in their dog fouling campaigns to encourage dog owners to clean-up after their dogs.  Recently information has been publicised in local newspapers and in the past posters have been produced that include this message.

The evidence

Dog mess can contain roundworm which can carries an infection called toxocariasis. It has been suggested that toxocariasis can cause epilepsy.

Epilepsy Action is not aware of any instances in the UK where somebody has developed epilepsy as a result of coming into contact with dog faeces.

Challenging the myth

Epilepsy Action believes the information being given about epilepsy and dog fouling is misleading. Keep Britain Tidy used to include this information in its policy documents and Epilepsy Action contacted them to update the policy.

However, the information is still being used by some organisations and we want to make sure people are not misinformed. Central Bedfordshire Council have referred to it as part of a recent dog fouling campaign. We have contacted them and asked them to remove the references to this information in their campaign.

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