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Dog Owners Issued Urgent Warning Over Toxic Algae

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Dog Owners Issued Urgent Warning Over Toxic Algae

With temperatures heating up in the UK, your dog might be tempted to cool off in a lake or river - but it's important to be super vigilant about toxic blue-green algae.

The algae is a group of bacteria, called cyanobacteria, and is often found in ponds and lakes during hot weather.

With the summer now in full swing, the British Veterinary Association (BVA) is warning dog owners to be extra careful when walking their dogs around bodies of water.

It's important to be super vigilant about toxic blue-green algae. Credit: Alamy
It's important to be super vigilant about toxic blue-green algae. Credit: Alamy
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Blue-green algae can often look like green flakes or brown dots in a pond, lake or stream.

Blue Cross explains that when the algae blooms, it can look like a blue-green scum on the surface of the water, or like foam.

The algae may be present even if you can't see it, so it's best to be extra cautious as the algae can be extremely toxic to dogs.

It said: "Sadly, exposure to toxic blue-green algae is often fatal, and can also cause long term health problems in dogs that survive after drinking or swimming in algae-contaminated water. Some types of blue-green algae can kill a dog just 15 minutes to an hour after drinking contaminated water.

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"Dogs who have been swimming in water can get the algae caught in their fur, and can ingest it while cleaning themselves later on."

Dog owners are being urged to be careful. Credit: Alamy
Dog owners are being urged to be careful. Credit: Alamy

Warning dog owners, British Veterinary Association President Justine Shotton said: “Many dogs love nothing more than a paddle in a lake to cool off in this weather, but we’d urge pet owners to keep them on a lead during walks near water bodies confirmed to have algal blooms this summer.

"The majority of blooms are toxic and it is impossible to tell the difference visually, so it is better to be safe than sorry.

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“It is also important to be aware of the symptoms of exposure. These commonly include vomiting, diarrhoea, drooling, disorientation, trouble breathing, seizures, and blood in faeces.

"They can appear within a few minutes or hours of exposure, depending on the type of toxin ingested, and can cause liver damage and ultimately be rapidly fatal if left untreated.

“There is currently no known antidote for the toxins, so dog owners should seek prompt veterinary treatment to tackle their effects and ensure a good chance of recovery for their pet."

The algae may be present even if you can't see it. Credit: Alamy
The algae may be present even if you can't see it. Credit: Alamy
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Sadly, in May, two dog owners issued a desperate warning after their dog died shortly after playing in a lake. 

Hannah Washington, 23, and Jordan Shearman, 24, were distraught when their cocker spaniel puppy suddenly collapsed and died after the trip to Anton Lakes, Andover - where their pup was happily frolicking just hours prior.

The couple took pictures and videos of the one-year-old pup, Roo, at the lake, but shortly after the otherwise healthy pet began foaming at the mouth and suffering from seizures.

The pair rushed Roo to a nearby veterinarian, but despite seeking the expert help, he sadly died later on that day. 

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You can read more on that here.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: News, Dog

Lucy Devine
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