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Authorities Issue A Warning After A Dog’s Death From Exposure In Jordan Lake

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Reports of dogs getting sick and some dying after visiting the Farrington Boat Launch on Jordan Lake prompted authorities to warn pet owners about the water condition.

Sarah Pohlig, along with her family and her 3-year-old beagle, went to Jordan Lake on the family’s sailboat on June 25. 

“Ruby is ‘woofing,’ biting all the waves — really cute, we thought. We noticed she was bloated about an hour in … she put her paws on the side of the hull and wanted to be back on the boat, which is not really like her.” said Pohlig.

But at the end of the day, they noticed Ruby acting differently. 

Pohlig said, “She was listless, lethargic, had some shaking and was making some funny sounds. Her heartbeat got really faint, kind of came back for a little and then went away and didn’t come back,” she said.

The water was sampled on June 27 after the NC Department of Environmental Quality received the report.

Field workers tested the water but found no evidence of algae in the region. However, a quick test did reveal that the water did contain some cyanobacteria that may produce toxins. However, it was not in “bloom quantities” sufficient to cause the dog’s demise.

According to NCEDQ, traces of cyanobacteria are usually present during the summer. Cyanobacteria is a toxic substance for humans, and when blue-green algal blooms emerge, they can be lethal to animals. 

The Chatham County Public Health Department released images of water that dog owners ought to stay away from. According to experts, dog owners should prevent their pets from drinking water that seems to be “spilled paint” or green, blue, red, or brown.

Bob Wehrenberg, a regular visitor to Jordan Lake, walks his dog there almost daily. Now, he’s concerned with the dangers in light of the weekend’s death news.

“Now that I’ve heard that, he’s going to have to stay out of the water for a little bit until we find out what’s going on out here. Right now, I think the most important thing is to get the word out to everybody that they know something is going on and have everybody be very cautious until we get a definitive answer from wildlife or whoever,” said Wehrenberg. 

The Division of Water Resources with NCDEQ will conduct additional tests in its chemical lab to determine the concentration of microcystin and the number of algal cells present.

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