Dog Park Check - Bellalago, April 2019

Dog Park Check – Bellalago

By Jim Young, Manager – Bellalago Veterinary Hospital

Last time we were at Bellalago’s Dog Park, we recommended that it not be used due to safety issues.  We’re happy to say that many of these issues have been resolved, and the park is once again ready to be used.  As always, we recommend using caution when taking your dog to any dog park, but we believe the most dangerous of the issues has been mostly corrected.

If the video below fails to load, you can still view it here -

Bellalago's Dog Park

Fecal Float – nothing present (hookworms have been found in the past and are likely still present)

Direct – nothing present


WATER BOWLS: Once again we want to warn dog parents about the drinking bowls provided. It’s the same bowls as before. The drinking bowls at the dog park are not safe. They do not drain contaminated water. In fact, they add clean water to the dirty water in the bowl. Dumping out the bowls is not enough to prevent disease. The bowls themselves appear to be made out of plastic and would be very difficult to successfully clean.  Dogs drinking from the dog park bowls are at increased risk for common water borne diseases like Leptospirosis and Coccidia. These diseases are spread by wildlife like birds and raccoons. There were birds and wildlife present nearby. This issue can easily be avoided by using personal bowls that can be cleaned between uses. We have portable folding drinking bowls available for your pet at the hospital. Please feel free to stop by and pick one up. They’re FREE!

For those who wondered about the frog that was with the water bowl in the video, it was dead.  We checked. 

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. Beyond not allowing pets to drink from contaminated sources, there is no prevention for Coccidia. Medical treatment is required. Again, use of a personal bowl is recommended.

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. Also, providing clean drinking water and bowls to your dog will help reduce the risk.

FENCING: The broken fencing has been replaced and the fence seems mostly repaired.  We do still have two areas of concern with the fencing.  In the back left corner, the fence is very high from the ground.  Small dogs (and some motivated larger dogs) may be able to push their way under the fencing there.  Additionally, in the back right corner the new wire running along the bottom that was installed to fix the problem we noted last time wasn’t attached to the fencing in enough places.  A dog could push its way under the fence there, but would have to try at a very specific location along the fence.  The odds are of this are low, but we encourage dog owners to keep a watchful eye out while using the park.

HOOKWORMS: Hookworms were not found this time, but have been found in the past. Hookworm eggs can survive in the soil for years so once they are present, they will always be a threat! 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!

ACORNS: During this time of year, the oak trees will drop lots of acorns. There are several beautiful oak trees providing shade to the park. Unfortunately, dogs like to eat acorns 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. Additionally, these acorns were in the water bowls (as noted above). Much like mosquitoes, acorns are a fact of life in Florida. Again, it is important to monitor your dog to prevent eating acorns.

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.

Tags: dog park , dog park , safety , safety , danger , danger , water bowl , water bowl , coccidia , coccidia , lepto , lepto , mosquito , mosquito , preventatives , preventatives , dog , dog , Bellalago , Bellalago


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