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: