Fairmont Dog Park temporarily closed after possible canine parvovirus exposure

Fairmont Dog Park was temporarily closed to due a dog with Canine Parvovirus, a dangerous and usually fatal canine disease. It has recently opened back up to the public. (Elizabeth Sandstrom _ Collegian Media Group

A potential canine parvovirus contamination led Fairmont Dog Park to its second closure this year from Sept. 19-25. 

Dr. Richard Kitterman, associate veterinarian, said canine parvovirus is a disease that spreads from dog to dog via feces and can affect them in various ways.

“Symptoms of parvo typically are bloody diarrhea, vomiting and fever,” Kitterman said.

While all dogs can be at risk of canine parvovirus, Kitterman said one group is at higher risk.

“Typically it affects puppies worse than adult dogs,” Kitterman said. “When an infected dog has a bowel movement on the ground, the virus can stay alive for weeks.” 

Aubrey Pillow, junior in athletic training and nursing, is the owner of a 12-week-old puppy and said canine parvovirus influenced the way she raises her dog.

“It’s scary, like I would never take my dog to a dog park just because of all the diseases,” Pillow said. “I think prevention is the best medicine.”

Vivienne Leyva, Riley County EMS public information officer, said the issue of canine parvovirus and other diseases comes from owners not taking proper precautions.

“Unfortunately … there’s also a trend for people not to vaccinate pets accordingly to veterinarian recommendations,” Leyva said.

Leyva said canine parvovirus poses a great threat to dogs. 

“If your dog seems ill or is having symptoms of canine parvovirus, your best bet is to contact your veterinarian,” Leyva said. 

As Fairmont Dog Park reopens, Leyva said it’s important to follow the guidance provided to ensure the safety of all dogs. 

“People can go there accordingly to the rules, which are posted on a sign by the entrance to the park,” Leyva said. “All dogs who visit the park should be vaccinated. People are asked to do that before visiting the park.”