Toxocara canis (dog roundworm) eggs in dog feces can cause toxocariasis. In the United States, about 10,000 cases of Toxocara infection are reported in humans each year, and almost 14% of the U.S. population is infected. In Great Britain, 24% of soil samples taken from public parks contained T. canis eggs.[failed verification] Untreated toxocariasis can cause retinal damage and decreased vision. Dog feces can also contain hookworms that cause cutaneous larva migrans in humans.
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^ Bridgett M. von Holdt, Emily Shuldiner, Ilana Janowitz Koch, Rebecca Y. Kartzinel, Andrew Hogan, Lauren Brubaker, Shelby Wanser4, Daniel Stahler, Clive D.L. Wynne, Elaine A. Ostrander, Janet S. Sinsheimer and Monique A.R. Udell (19 July 2017). "Structural variants in genes associated with human Williams-Beuren syndrome underlie stereotypical hypersociability in domestic dogs". Science Advances. 3 (7): e1700398. Bibcode:2017SciA....3E0398V. doi:10.1126/sciadv.1700398. PMC 5517105. PMID 28776031.
In 2013, an estimate of the global dog population was 987 million. Although it is said that the "dog is man's best friend", this refers largely to the ~20% of dogs that live in developed countries. In the developing world, dogs are more commonly feral or communally owned, with pet dogs uncommon. Most of these dogs live their lives as scavengers and have never been owned by humans, with one study showing their most common response when approached by strangers is to run away (52%) or respond aggressively (11%). Little is known about these dogs, or the dogs in developed countries that are feral, stray or are in shelters, because the great majority of modern research on dog cognition has focused on pet dogs living in human homes.
It has been suggested that the most significant benefit would have been the use of dogs' robust sense of smell to assist with the hunt. The relationship between the presence of a dog and success in the hunt is often mentioned as a primary reason for the domestication of the wolf, and a 2004 study of hunter groups with and without a dog gives quantitative support to the hypothesis that the benefits of cooperative hunting was an important factor in wolf domestication.
Every year, between 6 and 8 million dogs and cats enter US animal shelters. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) estimates that approximately 3 to 4 million of those dogs and cats are euthanized yearly in the United States. However, the percentage of dogs in US animal shelters that are eventually adopted and removed from the shelters by their new legal owners has increased since the mid-1990s from around 25% to a 2012 average of 40% among reporting shelters (with many shelters reporting 60–75%).
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