Dog Park Check – Poinciana
By Jim Young, Manager - Bellalago Veterinary Hospital
We have some results from our visit to Poinciana's dog park. There were very few samples found (Good job, Poinciana!) and we only collected two - one had been there for a while and wasn’t “fresh.” This is a good problem to have! Cleaning up after your pet helps prevent many diseases! Congratulations to Poinciana!
While we were there, we cleaned the stainless steel doggie drinking fountain bowls with veterinary-grade cleaner. While this isn’t guaranteed to eliminate all possible threats, cleaning it will help minimize them. Using the doggie drinking fountain as it was intended is the safest way to allow your dog to drink. Allow the water to run freely and drain appropriately. It will drain slowly so dogs can lap it up. Do not allow them to drink water from the drinking fountain if it is not draining.
We did find some issues we were concerned about. These are very similar to what we had found last time with the water bowls. We handed out some collapsible water bowls to some of the dog park guests. If you missed us and want a FREE collapsible water bowl, stop by the hospital!
We recorded a short video about what we found. Check it out!
Poinciana's Dog Park
Fecal Float - no parasites seen in the samples (Only two samples were found and one was old. Hookworms are likely still present as they were present last check.)
Direct – not run this time
WATER BOWLS: We had concerns about the water bowls that 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. You can see the condition of the bowl and how dirty it is in the photo. Unfortunately, there was no effective way to clean the bowls due to the condition. 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.
SPRINKLER PUDDLES: There were also a sprinkler heads going off around the trees resulting in large puddles. 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. 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: The back of the small dog side had a gate that had a larger opening in it than recommended. While most dogs could not get through it, it is large enough for smaller dogs to slip through. Small dogs should be carefully monitored. Additionally, we could see prints from wildlife (raccoons?) in the sand around and going through the opening. In case there was any doubt regarding possible sources of contamination from wildlife, here is clear evidence that wildlife is entering the dog park area.
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 two we collected. One was not a fresh specimen and likely was no longer helpful in determining present threats. 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 patients and unavailable.