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Test results on dogs that died after visiting Tacoma park leave the cause a mystery

Three dogs have died after visiting Garfield Park in North Tacoma. Metro Parks Tacoma says an investigation is underway.
Three dogs have died after visiting Garfield Park in North Tacoma. Metro Parks Tacoma says an investigation is underway. phaley@thenewstribune.com file, 2014

Two dogs who died after visiting Garfield Park did not have a bacterial disease believed to be the cause, according to Metro Parks Tacoma.

An investigation was launched earlier this week after three dogs died and a fourth became sick. All the dogs regularly visited the park at 400 N. Borough Road.

Leptospirosis was initially suspected, leading one family to put up signs in the park warning visitors not to let their four-legged friends drink from puddles.

The disease is typically spread through the urine of infected animals and can live in water and soil, making it easy to transmit via contaminated water.

Metro Parks officials said lab results have come back for two of the affected dogs and both tested negative for leptospirosis. Test results for one dog are inconclusive and test results for the fourth are expected to be available next week.

The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, which is assisting with the investigation, said it is unaware of any reports made to the state about the disease being found in Garfield Park.

Veterinarians are required to report cases to the state Department of Agriculture.

Although park officials said there appears to be no threat to people, they recommended keeping pets out of the park until they determine what killed the dogs.

Dog owners said they’re still concerned and won’t be taking walks in Garfield Park until the situation is sorted out.

Vicky and Rick Shanaman lost their English sheepdog, Hudson, on Monday. The couple said they took Hudson, 7, for daily walks in the park before he fell ill over the weekend and couldn’t even get into the car on his own.

Gaby Lockwood, who lives nearby, lost her Chihuahua mix Tigger after he exhibited the same symptoms.

Both dogs became lethargic and it was later determined that their kidneys failed.

Anyone with information or concerns is asked to call Metro Parks at 253-305-1030.

Stacia Glenn: 253-597-8653

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