Dog walking on the Waddesdon Estate
We ask dog walkers to help us to keep the wider Waddesdon Estate special and safe.
As not all our visitors are dog-loving people and to help protect our visitors, livestock and beautiful surroundings, we ask that dog owners adhere to our points below.
- stick to footpaths to avoid livestock grazing nearby and nesting birds
- keep your dogs on leads for the safety of our animals and for the comfort of other visitors
- use dog waste bins provided
Reasons behind our policy
Why keep your dog on the lead?
We ask you to keep your dogs on the lead due to a number of diseases that are transmitted between livestock and dogs, and between dogs and humans. There is a significant risk of transmission of infectious diseases between dogs that walk or work on farmland, and livestock. These diseases threaten the health, welfare and productivity of our livestock.
Diseases that we fear
Neosporosis: is a protozoan parasite transmitted between dogs and cattle and is the leading cause of abortion in cattle in the UK. Dogs can become infected with Neospora after consuming the placenta or post-calving discharges of an infected cow. Subsequently they begin to shed Neospora eggs in their faeces which remain a source of infection in the environment for up to six months. After cattle consume the Neospora eggs on pasture, in feed troughs or in water contaminated by the infected dog faeces, the infection means cattle are 3-7 times more likely to abort than uninfected cows. Placenta and abortion materials are then a source of infection to other dogs, propagating the lifecycle of the parasite.
Neosporosis causes abortions, reduced milk yields, impaired growth rates and prolonged calving intervals in cattle, and as such the disease represents a considerable challenge to the UK cattle industry.
Sarcocystosis: is a protozoan disease affecting a number of livestock species and carnivores, commonly involving sheep and dogs in the UK. Following the ingestion of infected sheep meat, dogs begin to shed Sarcocystis eggs in their faeces, which can contaminate pastures, feed and water sources. Sheep then ingest the eggs and the parasite infects the muscle tissue, acting as a potential source of infection for other dogs that consume the meat. In pregnant sheep the disease can cause abortion, and neurological signs can also affect up to 75% of sheep in susceptible flocks with lambs being the most vulnerable to disease. Severe infections can be fatal. Other impacts of the disease are associated with reduced growth rates and the condemnation of infected carcasses in the abattoir.
Tapeworms: dogs can easily be transferred four species of tapeworm that evolve amongst sheep. When dogs consume infected sheep meat, they begin to shed the worm eggs in their faeces. When sheep consume contaminated pasture, the parasite forms cysts in their organs, ultimately infecting dogs when they eat the carcass. Infestation with some species of tapeworms is as high as 50% in young sheep.
Toxocariasis: is a rare infection caused by roundworm parasites. Humans can catch it from handling soil or sand contaminated with infected animal faeces. Roundworm parasites are most commonly found in cats, dogs and foxes, and usually affect young children and can result in loss of vision.