With the arrival of summer like conditions I wanted to discuss the topic of Blue Green Algae which can be toxic to both dogs and humans alike.
Blue Green Algae – What Is It?
Blue-Green Algae is also known as Cyanobacteria. It’s not strictly speaking an algae at all but was given the name due to its appearance. Given the right conditions the bacteria can gather together and ‘bloom’ which often leads to the blue green film you sometimes see on the water surface.
The bacteria can be toxic to dogs so you should avoid letting your dog swim or drink from lakes or ponds where blue green algae is present. Sometimes a body of water may contain blue green algae even though you can’t see evidence of it. Areas that are likely to be affected are tested so dog owners should also look for posted warning signs that blue green algae is present.
Blue Green Algae – What Are The Symptoms?
When blue green algae blooms it gives off harmful toxins. If these toxins are ingested by your dog they can impact the function of the liver. It’s often fatal to dogs and a dog can show symptoms or die within an hour of ingesting the toxins.
So what are these symptoms? Typically symptoms could include the following:
- Breathing problems
- Weakness or collapse
There is no medication that a vet can give to help kill the toxins. Instead a vet would try to make your dog be sick in the hope it will remove the toxins. Due to how toxic blue green algae is to dogs, owners would generally be advised to just avoid water when the algae is present. In general the algae will appear in hot weather when there has been little or no rainfall. Bodies of water with low flow rate like some ponds and lakes are most affected.
Blue Green Algae – Further Information
There are a large number of websites that discuss blue green algae in relation to how it can impact on pets. Most however give very similar information to this article. I did however find a couple of resources that could have some additional potential benefit.
For UK readers there is a free smartphone app for both Apple and Android users called ‘Bloomin’ Algae’. Based on reviews however it seems that currently it has limited value because you can only report suspected cases of blue green algae and not see confirmed cases on a map. They do have a website where you can view a map but the user interface and way the information is presented needs improvement. You can view the website here:
If readers have additional information or suggested websites on the topic of blue-green algae please feel free to share them in the comments section. I will revisit this article and update it should there be any new, additional information that would be useful to readers.