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Posted on 05-10-2018

Dog Park Check – Solivita

By Jim Young, Manager - Bellalago Veterinary Hospital

We had a beautiful time at Solivita’s dog park and passed out a number of water bowls.  If you didn’t run in to us there, please come by the hospital to pick up your own!

Solivita’s residents have been doing a much better job about picking up after their pet.  We only found two samples to test.  That is a significant reduction since our first visit when we filled a shopping bag with samples!  Good job, Solivita!

We cleaned the water fountain using hospital-grade cleaner designed for veterinary hospitals.  The entire stainless steel drinking fountain bowl was thoroughly cleaned and disinfected.  We did not clean the painted surface as dogs wouldn’t come in contact with it, and we were not sure what the cleaner would do to the paint.  We also attempted to disinfect the rubber stopper that was placed at the bottom; however, there is a large void on the underside of the stopper where the handle was formed.  This was filled with dirt and debris which we were unable to remove.  Additionally, there were several ridges on the front that held dirt too (You can see the dirt in the ridges in the pre-cleaning photo below).  We did not bring cleaning equipment suitable for getting the dirt trapped in those ridges.  This dirt could hold different parasites and other issues which can cause issues with dogs.  As we are strongly discouraging the use of the rubber stopper and cleaning it is likely ineffective, we are not going to bring special equipment for its cleaning.  We did soak it in the hospital-grade disinfectant in hopes of disinfecting it as best possible.  Like last visit, we strongly suggest not using this stopper.

As before, we made a short video about what we found at the park.  Check it out!

Solivita's Dog Park

Fecal Float – nothing present (only two samples were found)

Direct – not completed this time

NOTES:

DOGGIE DRINKING FOUNTAIN:  As we noted last time, there is a nice doggie drinking fountain, but the drain had been plugged so contaminated water was unable to drain. Using the doggie drinking fountain as a regular drinking fountain (with clean, flowing water) is the only safe way to use it. We removed the rubber stopper during the cleaning and left it out of the bowl.  We suggest leaving it out permanently. Additionally, a water bowl was next to the drinking fountain. Dogs drinking from the plugged fountain or the bowl are at risk for common water borne diseases like Leptospirosis and Coccidia. These diseases are spread by wildlife like birds and raccoons. Previous samples taken from Solivita have been positive for Coccidia so that is known to be a present and threat. 

Coccidia is a tough one to prevent as it is so easily spread by wildlife. As wildlife often use water bowls and puddles as baths, dogs should not be allowed to drink from unclean bowls or standing water. Will result in diarrhea. Medical treatment is required.

A quick note regarding some feedback we received after our last check: We were told that there was a belief among some in the Solivita community that Coccidia could be prevented through vaccines.  Unfortunately, this is completely inaccurate.  We checked with both of our doctors and all major veterinary vaccine manufacturers and no one had heard of such a vaccine.  We truly wish such a vaccine existed, but it does not.  The only way to prevent Coccidia is to prevent pets from drinking contaminated water.  This is why we were handing out the collapsible water bowls.  Using this, your dog can always be sure your dog is drinking from an uncontaminated, safe bowl.  If you’d like a FREE bowl, stop by the hospital and pick one up!

Leptospirosis is a disease that can be spread to humans, but it can be easily prevented by making sure your dog is up to date on their vaccines. Unlike Coccidia, this disease can be easily prevented using vaccines!  Also, providing clean drinking water and bowls to your dog will help reduce the risk. 

HOOKWORMS:  Hookworms were not found this time, but have been found in the past.  As the hookworms can survive in the soil for years, once hookworms are present, they’re always going to be a threat!  Luckily, hookworms can be easily prevented with products like HeartGard, Trifexis, Sentinel Spectrum, or ProHeart 6. Having your dog on a preventative is important! Hookworms can be spread to humans! For more information, give us a call.

HEARTWORMS:  Mosquitos were present and are present just about everywhere in Florida.  Mosquitos carry heartworms which are VERY present in the local area.  We have a lot of patients who are heartworm positive which can have a significant negative impact on quality of life and life expectancy!  Heartworms can be easily prevented with products like HeartGard, Trifexis, Sentinel Spectrum, or ProHeart 6.  For more information about Heartworm prevention, give us a call!

Prevention is the best strategy to keep your pet happy and healthy! Give us a call so we can ensure your pet's well-being before they head to the park!

Methodology: We ran 3 samples randomly selected from the two specimens we collected. With each of the randomly selected samples, we did a fecal float checking for parasites. We did not perform direct screens (microscopic checks) as the microscope was being used for our patients and unavailable.

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