[Editor's Note] We apologize for any confusion this post may have caused. We talked with the city of Grand Junction, and the message shared by Dr. Gary's Animal Clinic was meant as a reminder to make sure your dogs are up-to-date on all their vaccinations.

The City of Grand Junction wants residents to know that Canyon View Dog Park is safe to use.

We apologize for any panic or unrest this story may have caused.

[Original Story] A local veterinarian posted a warning about a possible link between the canine parvovirus and Canyon View Dog Park.

Dr. Gary's Animal Clinic posted the warning this week on their Facebook page.

Dog parks can be both a blessing and a curse. They are a great place for dogs that don't have a big yard to go and run free, wild, and unencumbered. The downside is, there can be doggie personality conflicts and there's always the potential for the spread of disease.

The latter two scenarios are why I haven't taken dogs to the dog park for a number of years. It just isn't worth the risk, but that's just me.

So, what is canine parvovirus and should dog owners be concerned?

For starters, yes dog owners should be very concerned. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, most deaths from parvovirus occur within 72 hours of the onset of clinical symptoms. Dogs that aren't vaccinated and puppies less than four months old are at the greatest risk. It's imperative that an infected dog gets immediate treatment.

The symptoms of parvovirus are lethargy, loss of appetite, abdominal pain and bloating, fever or low body temperature, vomiting and bloody diarrhea. The disease is highly contagious and is spread by direct dog-to-dog contact, contaminated feces, kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, even the clothing of people who handle infected dogs.

There is no vaccine available that will kill the virus, but with proper treatment, survival rates are nearly 90%. Treatment includes fighting dehydration, controlling vomiting and diarrhea, and preventing secondary infections. The goal of treatment is to support the dog's body systems until it's immune system can fight off the infection.

I'm not telling anyone never to go to the Grand Junction dog park, but if you do, you are well advised to keep your dog out of contact with other dogs, and upon leaving the park, keep a close eye on your pet's well being, and be on the lookout for symptoms of parvovirus.

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