Blue-green algae is often found on the edge of lakes or ponds and contains extremely harmful toxins that can stop a dog’s liver from functioning correctly
As the weather is forecast to heat up over the weekend, owners are urged to be aware of the symptoms of blue-green algae poisoning if their dog has been swimming or paddling in open water, such as rivers and lakes.
The algae appear as a green or greenish-brown scum on the surface of the water and dogs can swallow it by drinking water from an affected body of water, or while licking their fur after going for a swim.
Dogs can even come into contact with the bacteria even if they don’t go into the water as toxic blooms can be blown to the edges of bodies of water.
The types and effects of blue-green algae vary, but common symptoms include:
Signs often start within the hour but can occur within a few minutes or even be delayed by a few days.
Some types of blue-green algae can have fatal effects and can kill a dog in as little as 15 minutes to an hour after drinking contaminated water.
If caught early enough, a vet will attempt to make your dog vomit to try flush the toxins out of the body. There is no antidote, but if medical intervention occurs early this gives your dog the best chance at survival.
Sadly, blue-green algae poisoning often eventually causes fatal liver failure, so it is important owners are vigilant.
If you are worried about your dog and they begin exhibiting signs of blue-green algae poisoning, you should contact your vet immediately. The effects of blue-green algae can come on extremely quickly, and it is important your vet intervenes and can advise in a timely manner for the best outcome.