Giardia and staph at Shirlington dog park!!!

| Sunday, July 5, 2009

I don't normally write on the blog, but I just felt I should send out a heads up to Arlington dog owners. Over the course of the past 2 weeks I have run into a lot of dogs that have gotten sick at the Shirlington dog park. Despite many warnings to the contrary, most of us let our dogs swim in Four Mile Run. Usually these incidents are isolated and related to one source that causes problems for our pooches, however, lately the confluence of two events has me worried about the safety of the park. First is the number of canine staphylococcus infections that I have seen. The first time I saw staph was at the park when I saw two dogs with shaved sections on their backs. When I asked the owner what happened she told me they had staph. The horrified look on my face caused her to immediately tell me that it is not contagious. Then I asked her where they got it, and the answer was in the water at that very park. I have yet to figure out why she was there, where it all happened. In the past few weeks I have run into 6 more dogs that had staph from the water as well.
Now Chewie's buddy Huxley and Chewie himself both have giardia. The vet said that they had recently seen an outbreak of giardia in dogs that frequent Shirlington. Apparently, the vet isn't the only local business to be aware of the issue, because Woofs has posted a request to its doggie daycare clients asking them not to bring dogs afflicted with any gastrointestinal issues.
Our tips for visiting the dog park are:

  1. Don't let your buddy go into the water, for now.
  2. Bring your own bowl and drinking water.
  3. Watch what your dog eats- giardia spreads through fecal-oral contact!