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University of Calgary asks dog owners to send in pets’ poop

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Animal researchers at the University of Calgary are embarking on some stinky science.

They want dog owners in Calgary to scoop up their pets' poop and pass it on for a study examining gastrointestinal parasites.

Researcher Anya Smith says she hopes to find out how parasites are passed between dogs and other wild animals such as coyotes and rodents in urban parks.

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She adds the results of the study could prove to be priceless.

And it won't take much work for dog owners.

"It's minimal effort to them," Ms. Smith said. "We will pick it up from a household. They don't need to be home. We'll send instructions on leaving it outside."

In exchange for handing over their doggy doo, owners will get lab results detailing the health of their animals.

"This is a service that normally costs over $100," Ms. Smith said.

About 6,000 invitations to take part in the study are to be mailed next week. They will target dog owners in specific communities near popular city parks.

In addition to providing an animal's poop samples, owners must also complete an online survey.

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