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Vet warning of deadly blue-green algae after dog dies of suspected poisoning

The British Veterinary Association is urging dog owners to take extra care when walking their pets near rivers and ponds after a cocker spaniel died of suspected blue-green algae poisoning

Dog owners should exercise caution when walking their pets near ponds and rivers
Dog owners should exercise caution when walking their pets near ponds and rivers

Dog owners are being urged to keep their pets on a leash this summer when walking them near rivers and ponds.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) is warning of an increased risk of toxic blue-green algae growth in the coming months.

It comes after sightings of algal blooms in lakes, ponds or rivers in locations across the UK including Millarochy Bay In scotland, Pullar’s hole in Lerwick, Shetland and around 50 other confirmed sites identified by the UK Center for Ecology and Hydrology (UKCEH) Bloomin’ Algae app.

In late April, a cocker spaniel died of suspected blue-green algae poisoning after a swim in Anton Lakes, Hampshire.

Blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria, is a group of bacteria that can contain dangerous toxins that can be harmful and potentially fatal to pets, livestock, and birds if ingested even in small amounts.

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Most flowers are poisonous and it is impossible to visually tell the difference
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The algae can appear as a green or greenish-brown foam on the water surface.

Dogs can ingest it by drinking water from an affected lake, river, or pond, or by licking their fur after swimming.

It’s possible for dogs to come into contact with the bacteria even if they don’t go paddling in the water, as toxic flowers are often blown to the edges of bodies of water.

Falls peak in July and August, at the height of the summer season, and are not confined to any part of the UK.

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 would urge pet owners to keep them on a leash when walking near bodies of water to lead to algal blooms this summer.

“Most flowers are poisonous and it’s impossible to tell the difference visually, so it’s better to be safe than sorry. It’s also important to be aware of the symptoms of exposure. These commonly include vomiting, diarrhea, drooling and disorientation, difficulty breathing, seizures, and blood in the stool.

“They can appear within 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 care to manage their effects and ensure a good chance of recovery for their pet.”

dr Linda May, freshwater ecologist at UKCEH said: “All reports of suspected blue-green algae can be viewed quickly via the Bloomin’ Algae app, allowing people to submit records to give a useful early warning to pet owners and water sports enthusiasts.

“All reports must be accompanied by a photo so we can quickly verify that the bloom is blue-green algae or something harmless.”

What owners should pay attention to:

  • Look out for warning signs posted by the relevant national environmental agency or local authority near bodies of water.
  • Keep pets on a leash and at your side near bodies of water known or suspected to have a blue-green algae bloom – do not allow pets to swim in or drink from it.
  • If your dog has been swimming outside, wash his coat thoroughly with clean water afterwards.
  • Seek emergency veterinary care if you are concerned your pet has ingested toxic algae.
  • Report sightings of suspected blue-green algae with a photo of the Blooming Algae App. You can also set up notifications for confirmed sightings in your area.

Do you have a dog story to share? Email paige.freshwater@reachplc.com.

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https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/vets-warning-over-deadly-blue-27281721 Vet warning of deadly blue-green algae after dog dies of suspected poisoning

Fry Electronics Team

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