Dog Days of Summer Warning: Toxic Blue-Green Algae is Showing Up in Lakes Across the US

Posted by Christy Caplan
Toxic Blue-Green Algae
Facebook/Morgan Fleming

The dog days of summer are the hot, sultry days of summer. Unfortunately, as summer weather temps are soaring, popular lakes across the U.S. are reporting signs of blue-green algae and many dogs are dying. The Pet Poison Helpline is hoping pet owners will share their post about signs and symptoms. We've also included those here so you can review them if you're concerned after your dog goes swimming. 

First, pet owners should be aware that there are reported cases in North Carolina, Texas, Georgia, Maine and Florida. These are just a few of the recent cases we've seen and I also know here in Washington we had cases reported at a local lake in Camas, Washington.

The worst part? A few mouthfuls of the algae-contaminated water may result in fatal poisoning. There is no antidote for the toxins produced by blue-green algae, found in freshwater lakes, streams, ponds, saltwater, and brackish water ecosystems.

Don't assume the lake water with blooms will look murky either as some pet owners say the lake they swam in was crystal clear. States like Florida are making efforts to turn this around as they were seeing harmful blooms much earlier this year.

In January, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ordered the state's five water management districts to focus on projects that "will help address harmful algae blooms and maximize nutrient reductions." As a result, water managers are "doubling down efforts to identify pollution hot spots in the northern Everglades with a plan that would increase water testing by more than 40 percent."

These two very sad cases posted on Facebook are from pet owners hoping to warn others.

This morning we thought, it’s so hot! Let’s go to the lake! We took our sweet Arya to the lake and had the best day...

Morgan Fleming 发布于 2019年8月10日周六

At 12:08 AM, our dogs crossed the rainbow bridge together. They contracted blue green algae poisoning and there was...

Melissa Martin 发布于 2019年8月8日周四

What is blue-green algae?

According to public health officials, these toxic algae blooms happen when nutrient-rich water sits or only moves very slowly. Boiling, filtering, and purifying methods do not render toxic algae-filled water ever safe to drink. reports that blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria, turn lakes a distinctive hue when conditions are right for the growth of algal blooms. In addition to producing a thick mat of green scum and an offensive smell, sometimes blue-green algae also produce microcystins, toxins that can be deadly to dogs, livestock and other animals within hours of contact. Caution tape should be added to any area with reported cases. 

The toxins cause a range of symptoms

Brittany Stanton 发布于 2019年8月6日周二

Algae poisoning can cause great damage to the liver, kidney, and nervous system in humans who swallow affected water. It can cause severe vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing, angry skin rashes, and other allergic reactions. Ingestion of toxic algae requires immediate medical attention.

How are dogs exposed to the toxin?

A report detailed how the researchers believed the dogs were exposed to the toxins:

  • Inhalation - 13%
  • Ingestion - 9%
  • Skin contact plus ingestion (swimming, with swallowing water or licking fur) - 54%
  • Unknown - 24%

These toxic blooms are extremely dangerous and dog owners need to be aware of what they're dealing with when they see this pea soup. Most cities will cite when the water quality is an issue and these harmful water conditions are a problem for our dogs. As soon as the warm weather starts the department of health warns pet owners immediately.

Foldable dog swimming pool

Foldable Dog Swimming Pool

If you're looking for a safe alternative, let your dog beat the summer heat in their own dog pool.

Have you seen these signs before at lakes you take your dog to? Please leave a comment below. 

WATCH NOW: Dogs Can Be Naughty But We Love Them Anyway


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Dog Days of Summer Warning: Toxic Blue-Green Algae is Showing Up in Lakes Across the US