Upon further review: Mayflower Dog Park is back for the holidays

Dog-eye view of Mayflower Dog Park.

As with Mark Twain’s famous refutation of his publicly reported death, reports of the Escondido Dog Park’s demise were greatly exaggerated, according to Escondido officials. Closed last week due to fears of the presence of the highly contagious parvovirus, Escondido dog officials re-opened the park today, Wednesday, Dec. 16.

Hanging around the dog park.

Hanging around the dog park.

Dog park lovers beware, however. Despite reports of parvovirus at the park, Escondido officials did nothing to sterilize the grounds, based on the advice of a consulting official county veterinarian. Instead, they urged dog owners to bring only healthy, fully vaccinated dogs to the park.

“The Mayflower Dog Park has reopened for use,” Teresa Collins, Escondido special events and economic development director, said. “The recent closure was a precautionary action as a result of a park user reporting their dog contracted parvovirus after a visit to the park. City staff contacted the County of San Diego’s Department of Environmental Health, County Veterinarian, Dr. Nikos Gurfield, for information about parvovirus and what steps should be taken to protect dogs visiting the park.”

However, the park re-opened with a caveat, i.e. warning. Garfield said dogs visiting the park should be vaccinated against the parvovirus, along with distemper and rabies, calling this “the most effective way to protect a dog from contracting the virus.”

Garfield said “it was very difficult to determine where a dog actually contracted the virus,” according to Collins. “City officials, after consulting with Dr. Gurfield, have decided that sterilizing the park grounds would not be a long term solution because the virus could be introduced to the park by a sick dog that was shedding parvovirus. Dr. Gurfield recommended that pet owners only bring healthy, fully vaccinated dogs to the park.”

The closure was “a precautionary measure after a report of a dog who visited the park in late November came down with a case of Parvo,” city of Escondido spokeswoman Loretta McKinney said. “Escondido is choosing to be proactive in order to keep our animal family members safe.”

Getting technical, the Parvo virus, according to Canine Journal is spread through a dog’s feces whether through direct or indirect contact with the feces of an infected dog. Cardiac Parvo is found in puppies under the eight weeks old, but is rare and not  believed to be the culprit in the case of Escondido’s far-northeast side dog park.

The intestinal form of the virus is believed to be the problem with the problem dog who wasn’t identified by authorities, but de fact shut down the park. It’s passed through oral contact with the Parvo virus that can be spread through feces or infected soil. It’s considered highly contagious.

Canine Journal reports that dogs with the virus should be hospitalized for treatment. Treatment consists of the administration of crystalloid IV fluids and or colloids, administration of anti-nausea medications and injection of antibiotics.

Mayflower Dog Park is a fenced, off-leash 1.5-acre area where area dogs and their owners can frlic with others of like kind, When it re-opens next year, hours will be dawn to 9 p.m.

For further information, call Escondido dog park people at (760) 839-4691.