Toxic Blue-Green Algae Is Killing Dogs
Pet owners: Beware! Blue-green algae is literally killing dogs that ingest it after swimming in lakes. A few mouthfuls of the algae-contaminated water may result in fatal poisoning. There is no antidote for the toxins produced by blue-green algae, found in freshwater lakes, streams, ponds, saltwater, and brackish water ecosystems.
According to public health officials, these toxic algae blooms happen when nutrient-rich water sits or only moves very slowly. Boiling, filtering, and purifying methods do not render toxic algae-filled water ever safe to drink.
The blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria, turn lakes a distinctive hue when conditions are right for the growth of algal blooms. In addition to producing a thick mat of green scum and an offensive smell, sometimes blue-green algae also produce microcystins, toxins that can be deadly to dogs, livestock and other animals within hours of contact. Caution tape should be added to any area with reported cases.
What are the symptoms? Algae poisoning can cause great damage to the liver, kidney, and nervous system in humans who swallow affected water. It can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, angry skin rashes, and other allergic reactions. Ingestion of toxic algae requires immediate medical attention.
Researchers believed the dogs were exposed to the toxins:
Inhalation - 13%
Ingestion - 9%
Skin contact plus ingestion (swimming, with swallowing water or licking fur) - 54%
Unknown - 24%
These toxic blooms are extremely dangerous and dog owners need to be aware of what they're dealing with when they see this pea soup. Most cities will cite when the water quality is an issue and these harmful water conditions are a problem for our dogs. As soon as the warm weather starts the department of health warns pet owners immediately.
Let's be clear about the danger. There is NO antidote after those blue-green algae blooms are ingested by your dog. There are so many health risks when it comes to swimming in lakes even those that look like clean water.
The negative health effects are endless. The cases reported are of dogs drinking water from the lakes and immediately showing these symptoms. Even if they lick their paws after direct contact with the scum is a big problem. Better to just stay away from lakes during those late summer months.