si-dogsurvey_350

Veterinary medicine’s Anya Smith, left, and Alessandro Massolo are examining the prevalence and strains of some gastrointestinal parasite species in dogs across the city. (Riley Brandt)

The University of Calgary is asking dog owners to go one step further when picking up their pooch’s poop.

Researchers from the school’s department of veterinary medicine are asking dog owners to scoop up their pet’s poop and then pass it on for a study on gastrointestinal parasites.

The goal of the research is to find out how parasites are passed between dogs and other wild animals, such as coyotes and rodents in urban parks.

About 6,000 Calgary dog owners will get the unusual letter in the mail next week as well as a request to fill out an online survey.

The study will focus on dogs from communities neighbouring parks in Nose Hill, River Park, Southland, Bowmont, Weaselhead and Fish Creek Provincial Park.

In return for handing over the feces sample, dog owners will receive the results of the lab analysis, which will give owners a good idea of their pet’s health, a test typically costing more than $100.

The study is sponsored by the city of Calgary.