Another dog death from algal poisoning

26 July 2013

The unfortunate death of a dog that came into contact with blue-green algae in a lake in Southampton (NY) has been reported.  In New Brunswick (Canada) the City of Moncton has had to again close the reservoir at the Irishtown Nature Park to all recreational uses due to the presence of blue-green algae.

With blue-green algae contaminating lakes nationwide, a Kansas State University toxicologist warns pet owners to understand the bacteria’s dangers for their pets and for themselves. Blue-green algae produce toxins that are hazardous to humans and can be fatal in animals, particularly dogs, said Deon van der Merwe, associate professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology. Blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, grow in bodies of water, such as lakes and ponds, and other wet places, such as moist soil or rocks.

“Essentially anywhere there is water, you can find blue-green algae,” said van der Merwe, who also manages the toxicology section of the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. Blue-green algae develop when water has excess nutrients, which helps cyanobacteria grow rapidly and creates an algae bloom. Discolored water or algal scum can be signs of an algae bloom, which can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. Cyanobacteria need sunlight to grow because they are photosynthesizing organisms, van der Merwe said.

 

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