Dog Park Check - Poinciana
By Jim Young, Manager – Bellalago Veterinary Hospital
It has been a while since we’ve been able to get out to Poinciana’s most southern dog park. We found the park closed for maintenance during our last visit and were unable to collect samples.
One of the disappointing things we found this time was the quantity of samples. We actually had to stop collecting samples because we filled our specimen bags. It is considered common courtesy to pick up after your pet. This helps minimize possible health issues and keeps our community looking good!
We also looked around for possible safety issues and found a few things we were concerned about.
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Poinciana's Dog Park
Fecal Float – Nothing was found in the samples tested; however, we took several dozen samples and only tested three. We have found hookworms in the past. These are almost certainly still present in the soil and all dogs using the park should be on a preventative for hookworms (HeartGard, ProHeart 6, Trifexis, etc.).
Direct – nothing found
WATER BOWLS: Don’t use the plastic bowls there. Use the metal drinking fountains. 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 one of our last visits, 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 left 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!
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!
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!
ACORNS: The trees at this park are still small, but they still produce acorns. They will be quite beautiful when full grown. Unfortunately, dogs like to eat acorns that the young oaks produce and these can make them sick. In fact, acorns can be toxic in larger quantities. Even single acorns can become an obstruction in the body and cause health issues. Much like mosquitoes, acorns are a fact of life in Florida. Again, it is important to monitor your dog to prevent eating acorns.
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.
The results from our seasonal check of the Bellalago Dog Park.