Many dogs can’t resist swimming on a hot summer day. It’s important for dog owners to be aware of an increased threat of blue green algae in late summer. Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, grows in any type of water, including freshwater lakes and ponds, rivers and streams, and marine water and estuaries. Exposure to cyanobacteria is dangerous for humans and pets. These bacteria are usually too small to be seen, but they sometimes form visible colonies, called “harmful algal blooms,” or HABs. HABs typically occur in warm, slow moving or standing water bodies that are rich in nutrients, such as fertilizer.
Exposure can be by contact with skin and mucous membranes, ingestion or inhalation. Dogs are at greater risk because they might drink the contaminated water and lick the algae off their fur.
Symptoms of exposure in dogs can include difficulty breathing, salivation, vomiting, lethargy, urination, diarrhea or seizures. Dogs have been known to die within 30 minutes of exposure.
If you think your dog is experiencing these symptoms please visit our emergency and urgent care
page for more information.