Dog Park Check – Bellalago
By Jim Young, Manager – Bellalago Veterinary Hospital
We visited Bellalago’s dog park. We have some concerns, but the dog park is developing in to a wonderful resource for the community. It has certainly improved significantly since we recommended residents not use it! We still strongly caution against using the water bowls there as well as carefully monitoring your dog due to the continued fencing issues. Read below for our findings!
You can find a video we made during our visit to the dog park at the link below - https://www.facebook.com/bellalagovet/videos/2485078071742508/
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Bellalago's Dog Park
Fecal Float – nothing present (hookworms have been found in the past and are likely still present)
Direct – nothing present
- Up to date on all vaccines
- On preventatives for heartworms, hookworms, fleas and ticks (HeartGard, ProHeart, Sentinel Spectrum, NexGard, etc.)
- Use of a personal, clean water bowl
- Carefully monitoring your dog
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!
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. It 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: We’ve had multiple concerns about the fencing at the Bellalago Dog Park during every visit. We will note that it appears the community has been responsive to many of our concerns and attempted to fix these issues. However, there are still areas where the fence is dangerously loose and/or is not close enough to the ground to prevent a determined dog to escape. Due to the proximity of the park to the tennis courts in the community, there was a tennis ball (the holy grail of all canines) just outside the fence in one of these spots. With the fence improperly secured and a tennis ball right on the other side, there is the makings of a situation. As always, owners need to keep an eye on their dogs at all times while at 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, 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, 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 certain times 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. 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.