Dog Park Check - Poinciana
By Jim Young, Manager – Bellalago Veterinary Hospital
We have some results from our visit to Poinciana’s dog park. We found quite a few samples this time (a change from last time). We encourage dog owners to clean up after their pets when at the dog park! While we do get more samples when you don’t, we’d take that over the diseases that can be carried by feces any day!
We also looked around for possible safety issues and found a few things we were concerned about.
Poinciana's Dog Park
Fecal Float – Hookworms were present in the samples.
Direct – nothing found
WATER BOWLS: We had concerns about the water bowls that were there. They had dried out and appeared empty when we were there. The shallow, plastic bowls can easily hold water borne diseases like Leptospirosis and Coccidia. They were in rough shape and had many scratches and imperfections that would be perfect for holding parasites. The photo is from our last visit, but the bowls are the same. You can see the condition of the bowl and how dirty it is in the photo. We strongly suggest not allowing your pet to drink from them. Draining them in to the grass and turning them over would prevent dogs from sneaking drinks. Do not empty them in to the drinking fountain as it may contaminate it.
Also, the bowls are located where sprinkler water could spray in to it. While reclaimed water is considered safe for lawns, it is usually not considered safe for drinking. You can see a sprinkler head in the upper right corner of the water bowl photo above.
With the heat, dogs will be looking for sources of water. Make sure you provide them with a clean source. We also have FREE collapsible water bowls available at the hospital to ensure that the contaminated ones are unneeded!
SPRINKLER PUDDLES: There was also a sprinkler head leaking near one of the trees. In the past we believed that this was purposeful as all the trees were being water, but this time it was just one sprinkler head and one puddle. Dogs drinking from the puddle are at risk for common water borne diseases like Leptospirosis and Coccidia. These diseases are spread by wildlife like birds and raccoons.
Leptospirosis is another 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. Also, providing clean drinking water and bowls to your dog will help reduce the risk.
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. This will result in diarrhea. Medical treatment is required.
Remember that both Leptospirosis and Coccidia can easily be prevented by using a clean water bowl and fresh water. Again, if you’d like a FREE collapsible water bowl, stop by the hospital!
GATE OPENING, WILDLIFE: We checked the opening in the back gate that we had noted last time. It was still present but appeared smaller. Maybe the gate had been adjusted or moved to better close the gap? Who knows, but thank you to whoever did that!
HOOKWORMS: Hookworms can be 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 many specimens we collected. With each of the randomly selected samples, we did a fecal float checking for parasites. We also randomly selected one sample for a direct screen for bacteria and other microscopic issues.