With summer fully underway and hot temperatures throughout the United States, one thing many people like to do is cool off in the water. That may mean a swimming pool, or it may mean a lake, pond, or river. If you want to spend time in the natural setting, beware of harmful blue-green algae – this slimy material can make both people and pets very ill, and can even kill our beloved animals.
According to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA), “Blue-green algae blooms can occur anytime during the summer, though they are normally associated with warm weather and low rainfall.” Although algae are naturally part of an ecosystem, “under certain conditions, algae populations can ‘bloom’ with dramatic growth.” And though most are not toxic, “there is no way to visually identify whether a particular bloom contains toxins that are harmful to people or animals.”
Such blooms occur when waterways have excessive nutrient levels, such as phosphorus. When going to a lake, reservoir, or other waterway and you notice high levels of algae, avoid going into the water and keep you pet away as well. According to the MPCA, “If your dog does go into water with heavy algae growth, hose it off right away, before it has a chance to lick itself clean. Animals become ill when they ingest the toxins, so preventing them from drinking affected water or licking toxins from their coat is key to preventing illness.”
The most common signs of poisoning from blue-green algae include:
Without treatment, your dog could go into shock and a coma – and can die. If you believe your dog has ingested toxic algae, take your furry friend to the veterinarian immediately.
Enjoy the water and the outdoors this summer with your furry companion but beware of this potentially lethal aspect of nature. Find an informational guide here:
Learn more about blue-green algae and its affects on humans and animals here:
Last week, I highlighted some of the pesky pests that can harm our pets. With summer on its way and our anticipation of spending more time outdoors, I thought it good to focus on one of the most prevalent tick diseases that affects both people and pets: Lyme disease.
Lyme disease in humans
According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), about 30,000 cases of Lyme disease in humans are reported annually by health departments in each state and the District of Columbia. However, the CDC believes as many as 10x that number (or 300,000) could actually be infected.
The most prevalent areas for this illness are the New England and Mid-Atlantic states as well as the Upper Northern area of America, including Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. However, nearly every state has had at least one case in recent years.
Black-legged ticks, also known as deer ticks, are the culprits of infecting someone with Lyme disease. Symptoms of this illness include fever, rash, facial paralysis, and arthritis.
Lyme disease in pets
This bacterial disease gets into the bloodstream through the bite and attachment of a tick. The bacteria often travels to various parts of the body, causing problems in organs, joints and other areas.
Veterinarians recommend pet owners check their pets for ticks every time the animals are outdoors and remove the tiny, pesky creatures as soon as they are found. Preventative care is also advised. There are many anti-tick products available, so please talk with your veterinarian about the best choice for the area in which you live.
According to the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), symptoms of the disease in pets include fever, swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, loss of appetite, and lameness. Our animals, however, may not show symptoms for two to five months.
Veterinarian use two different blood tests to confirm Lyme disease. Treatment for the illness includes use of antibiotics for at least 30 days. Some experts believe 50 to 75 percent of dogs in New England test positive for Lyme disease.
Although Lyme disease is not common in cats, if they roam outdoors for any length of time in tick-infested areas, felines can become infected if ticks are not removed. Lameness is a common symptom cat owners may notice, but sometimes cats don’t exhibit problems if they are infected.
Can people get Lyme disease from their pets?
According to the CDC, “Although dogs and cats can get Lyme disease, there is no evidence that they spread the disease directly to their owners. However, pets can bring infected ticks into your home or yard. Consider protecting your pet, and possibly yourself, through the use of tick control products for animals.”
There are other illnesses spread by ticks to humans and animals, depending on the area where they live and the type of ticks that inhabit those areas.
These are serious diseases for people and animals. Therefore, do your best to protect your beloved furry friends and yourself this summer from blood-sucking, disease-bearing ticks!
With Memorial Day weekend fast approaching, the onset of summer is soon to follow. The holiday weekend and upcoming outdoor season often lead to outdoor cooking and eating.
From gas and charcoal grills to picnics in the park, the enjoyment of cooking and eating outdoors is not lost on people or their pets. Sizzling steaks and burgers, hotdogs over the campfire, and fresh fruits and veggies on the table make everyone’s mouths water … including those belonging to our furry friends.
However, before you step out during the next few weeks to fire up the flames, here are five tips to keep your beloved four-footed companion safe during outdoor cooking ventures:
Enjoy the onset of summer and spending time outside but remember these tips to have a good, less worrisome time when it comes to outdoor cooking and pet safety. See more on the infographic below, created by Petfinder.com.