Blue-Green Algae – the dangers to your dog

Several dogs have already died this summer after swimming in water contaminated by blue-green algae.

A devastated dog owner from Edinburgh told how his beloved dog died within 90 minutes of a walk from poisoning by the deadly blue-green algae. After just paddling along the shore at Loch Awe, his previously healthy seven year old dog rapidly developed symptoms including struggling to breathe, and fitting. Despite attempts to resuscitate his dog, Delilah, she was pronounced dead at an Oban vet. The water was clear, and Delilah did not swim in it, but merely paddled, but it was enough to kill her. It is not always possible to tell which algae produce the deadly toxins and so it is wise to regard all scum as toxic.

Blue green algae, also known as cyanobacteria thrives in stagnant or slow moving water like ponds, streams and pools. It can also be found less commonly on rocks and soil. The algae produces potentially lethal toxins which are highly poisonous to pets and can cause poisoning in a number of ways, like ingesting the water when swimming, or licking the water off their fur.

Pets can die after ingesting only a small amount of the toxin. If for any reason you suspect that your dog has come into contact with contaminated water, rinse its coat immediately with clean water and call your vet IMMEDIATELY.

Treatment for these toxins, even if caught early is generally unsuccessful and sadly many animals each year die from blue green algae poisoning. If you do come across anywhere with this toxic substance, ensure that your dog does not drink, swim or play in the ponds or any puddles or streams leading from the ponds.

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