Dog Park Check – Solivita
By Jim Young, Manager – Bellalago Veterinary Hospital
Solivita's beautiful dog park is one of the most heavily used of all we visit, but also has some of the best amenities. Today's visit was no different and we had the pleasure of seeing Sara, one of our wonderful patients, during our visit. As always, we did have a few concerns, but we found nothing that should alarm any one! Here is our video we took during our visit!
If the video doesn't display below, you can view it at - https://www.facebook.com/bellalagovet/videos/422801628467968/
Solivita's Dog Park
We found ample samples including several that appeared to be diarrhea. I cannot say for certain if the test samples taken by the lab included any of those collected specimens which appeared to be diarrhea.
Fecal Float – nothing present (hookworms have been found in the past and are likely still present)
Direct – nothing present (Coccidia has been present in the past. Coccidia may be the cause for the diarrhea we witnessed.)
TOYS: We love the community toys that are provided. Whatever group that is providing these is really doing something wonderful for the pets in the community (PALS?). Some of the toys looked like a lot of fun! We do have a couple of cautions about the toys. Remember to inspect the toys prior to use. Make sure they are in good repair, not falling apart, or have pieces that may be easily removed. There were several toys that were needing to be thrown away as they had pieces missing or had loose pieces. These pieces can cause obstructions in the stomach or intestines and result in large, expensive surgeries. We also recommend cleaning and disinfecting these regularly. Just like with humans, sharing things can result in the spread of disease. The hard plastic toys should be easy enough to clean. Ones made of fabric or porous materials may require a bit more creativity.
DOGGIE DRINKING FOUNTAIN: As before, we have an issue with how the doggie drinking fountain is being used. By plugging the drain, the contaminated water is unable to properly drain. When we were there last, we spoke with Sherri from Lifestyles and she threw away the plug. Unfortunately, some well-meaning person has bought a new one to replace it. As one can see in the video, the stopper is visibly holding dirt debris and mold. Imagine what microscopic things (like Coccidia or Leptospirosis) are also hiding!
The water fountain is safe and a good way to allow your dog to drink as long as your dog is drinking from the stream and the water is running out the bottom - not pooling!
We strongly suggest taking a clean bowl and fresh water with you for your dog to drink. Never use the existing still-water bowls there! This will minimize the risk for common waterborne diseases like Leptospirosis and Coccidia. These diseases are spread by wildlife like birds and raccoons. As noted above, Coccidia was present in previous samples we collected! The only way to prevent Coccidia is to prevent pets from drinking contaminated water. We have free collapsible bowls here at the hospital. Come on by and pick one up!
We frequently hear concerns about the water quality at the dog park. The water coming from the doggie drinking fountain is the same water that comes from your faucet at home. The water is not the concern.
Finally, regarding Coccidia, there is no vaccine for Coccidia. If someone is telling you this, they are highly inaccurate. Please feel free to double-check information from well-meaning, but inaccurate people with our staff.
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 in 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 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.