Friday, June 12, 2015

Veterinary Highlights: Watch Out for Toxic Algae

One of the summer dangers is poisoning from blue-green algae.

Blue-green algae is common in stagnant water. Dogs can get poisoned when they swim in or drink the contaminated water. Blue-green algae contains a number of toxins, such as hepatoxins, that affect the liver, or neurotoxins. Onset of signs of illness is typically very quick.

In west-central Minnesota, one dog died and another became seriously ill after suspected exposure after swimming in the Red Rock Lake. 

Identifying toxic algal bloom can be difficult. The conditions at Red Rock Lake seem to be consistent with an early bloom.

One dog died and another became seriously ill in Douglas County, Minnesota, after being exposed to toxic blue-green...
Posted by American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) on Monday, June 8, 2015

Common signs of blue-algae poisoning include:
  •    Vomiting
  •     Diarrhea
  •     Blood in stool or black, tarry stool
  •     Pale mucous membranes
  •     Jaundice
  •     Seizures
  •     Disorientation
  •     Coma
  •     Shock
  •     Excessive secretions (e.g., salivation, lacrimation, etc.)
  •     Neurologic signs (including muscle tremors, muscle rigidity, paralysis, etc.)
  •     Blue discoloration of the skin and mucous membranes
  •     Difficulty breathing
  •     Death

The affected water often has a greenish, pea-soup type of appearance. 

While not all algal blooms are toxic, it is better to err on the side of caution and keep your dog away from any suspicious-looking water.

Source article:
Toxic algae suspected of killing, sickening dogs in Minnesota

Related articles:
Summer Perils: Blue-green Algae

Further reading:
Blue-green Algae (Cyanobacteria)

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