News of a serious disease for animals has a local parks and recreation department reminding users of important user instructions for a dog park.

Farmington Parks and Recreation Director Chris Conway said he learned about a posting on the “Farmington Dog Park Project” Facebook page after the Farmington City Council meeting Thursday. The post was voiced in concern after an animal died from canine parvovirus days after visiting the park.

On Friday morning, Conway said he got in touch with a local veterinarian clinic to get more information on parvo.

Canine parvovirus, according to www.avma.org, is a “highly contagious virus that can affect all dogs, but unvaccinated dogs and puppies younger than four months old are the most at risk.” According to the website, dogs that are ill from canine parvovirus infection are often said to have "parvo." The website states the virus affects dogs' gastrointestinal tracts and is spread by direct dog-to-dog contact and contact with contaminated feces (stool), environments or people.

According to Conway, the veterinarian said there is no way to determine if there is an instance of active parvo virus at the dog park.

“We were told there was a dog there that had parvo,” Conway said.

Conway said there is no way to determine if the dog the dog brought the virus in or picked it up from there.

"The vet will keep us posted of any other cases that come and we will act appropriately,” he said.

On Monday, a sign informing visitors about the incident were posted to the entrance gates of both the large and small dog sections at the park.

Conway said it is important for dog owners wishing to use the park to keep in mind the rules for the park, which are found at farmington-mo.gov/recreation/farmington-parks/farmington-dog-park and posted at the dog park on Perrine Road as well.

“Truly, the best course of action for our dog park is education,” Conway said.

He noted it is important for all visitors to pay close attention to the rules of the park.

“Two rules in particular … one states that all dogs must have their vaccinations. The other states that dogs must be (at least) four months old to enter the dog park, mainly because they don’t have all their shots before four months.”

Conway said staying up-to-date on pets’ vaccinations provides the best protection for a pet … and for other pets as well.

“It’s an honor system, and it takes responsible pet owners to make sure that system stays intact,” he said. “So, again, we urge pet owners to not take sick dogs to the dog park, make sure they’re dogs are up-to-date on their vaccinations and don’t take puppies.”

Additionally, Conway said there was no recommendation made for the city to a chemical means to “clean” the park.

“Basically, when you spread bleach on grass, it becomes inactive,” he said. “We didn’t think that would be the best course of action. We didn’t know how effective that would be.”

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