Dog Days of Summer – 2

Algae in Your Lake?

The rain this past weekend has been a welcome blessing and the thunder a strong reminder that summer, and its pet hazards, is on the way.

We all enjoy taking our canine friends to the lake for the weekend camping trip or for just a short time to cool off from the summer heat, but did you know that natural water can pose a serious danger to your pet? As we go through our warmer seasons, water temperatures in stagnant bodies of water (lakes, ponds, and even tubs) heat up. That warming, stagnant water combined with run-off from surrounding ground can lead to dangerous algae blooms.

Algae bloom is a rapid overgrowth of algae that is common in the water and with the perfect conditions can multiply in a matter of hours. The algae we worry the most about are called Cyanobacteria or “Blue-Green Algae”. The algae themselves are not overly dangerous, but the toxins that some algae produce can be fatal to pets and livestock. They can also cause skin lesions and irritation in people. Blue-Green algae have a blue-green to red-brown appearance and are apparent on the surface of all sizes of bodies of water. Our pets and livestock can ingest that water through drinking, playing or swimming in the affected area.

Your pet only needs to ingest small amounts of toxin from the algae to become gravely ill. Pets experience a rapid onset of vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, muscle tremors, seizures, paralysis and commonly death. Blue-Green Algae toxicity is very challenging to treat and timing from ingestion to treatment is crucial, but prevention is by far the best treatment.

Prevention is not always possible, but keeping track of lake warnings of algae blooms and surveying the lake, pond, or other bodies of water (no matter how small) for signs of algae on the surface can help prevent your pet from this nasty toxicity.

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