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Lawton dog park working to prevent parvo

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO) - A popular dog park has been shut down Tuesday to help combat a potentially deadly disease for dogs. City officials are looking to prevent an outbreak of the parvovirus.

The Vito Baxter Dog Park near 38th and Lee will be closed until Friday so Lawton Animal Welfare can spray for parvo. Parvovirus is a highly contagious infection that attacks a dog's white blood cells and intestinal tract.  It's spread through contact with others dogs or contaminated environments. It's also very difficult and expensive to treat. There have not been any cases of parvo linked to the park, officials say Tuesday was the perfect time to take preventative steps.

"Parvo is a very deadly disease to dogs and it is highly contagious,” said Lawton Animal Welfare Superintendent Russell Anderson.

Anderson said he hopes he never has to deal with parvo in Lawton. There have not been any cases of the disease in Lawton yet, Anderson said Sunday night's storms actually created the perfect opportunity to prevent the disease.

"The ground condition really has to be optimal so we have to wait for a good, soaking wet rain to come and then wait for it to dry up just a little bit,” Anderson said.

With the ground conditions just right, Anderson personally walked the entire dog park, spraying a combination of sprays.

"I sprayed around the base of the trees, anywhere that any of the dogs have a joint area or they frequent a lot. You really want to pay attention to that,” Anderson said.

Besides spraying for parvo, Anderson also sprayed for fleas, ticks and mange. While he was spraying Tuesday, several people came out to use the dog park. They said they were upset it was closed, but when they found out the reason behind it, they said they completely understood. Anderson said he doesn't want to drive anyone away from the park, but parvo is not worth taking lightly.

"'I'll give you probably 99-percent chance the dog will pass away if it gets parvo so if I can stop just one spread of it, this will all be worth it,” Anderson said. “I know it's an inconvenience for those who use it but these three days will be very prime for us."

Anderson will spray the park again on Wednesday and Thursday before opening the dog park on Friday. This is the first time he has sprayed the park and says he plans on spraying it again every six months.

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