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Last summer, an influx of tragic dog deaths across at least 17 states were linked to exposure to blue-green algae. Now, the deadly bacteria is once again a concern for pet parents.
Three lakes in Minneapolis have warning signs posted warning of a blue-green algae outbreak after a beloved dog died suddenly after exposure.
Blue-green algae is a term used to describe cyanobacteria, a bacterial organism that isn’t visible to the naked eye until several of the organisms clump together, giving the appearance of algae. The Pet Poison Helpline explains,:
Cyanobacteria (also known as blue-green algae) are microscopic bacteria found in freshwater lakes, streams, ponds and brackish water ecosystems. They can produce toxins (such as microcystins and anatoxins) that affect people, livestock and pets that swim in and drink from the algae-contaminated water… Algal concentrations vary throughout the year, but are most abundant during periods of hot weather in mid- to late-summer months and are most likely to be found in nutrient-rich water. While most blue-green algae blooms do not produce toxins, it is not possible to determine the presence of toxins without testing. Thus, all blooms should be considered potentially toxic. Very small exposures, such a few mouthfuls of algae-contaminated water, may result in fatal poisoning.
Blue-green algae can grow in lakes, oceans, ponds, streams and rivers. It can bloom in a pool of stagnant water or in your dog’s outdoor water bowls, so always keep them clean and filled with fresh water, especially during summer when temperatures are prime for bacterial growth.
Symptoms of exposure include vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, weakness, collapse/unconsciousness, disorientation, excessive drooling, breathing difficulties, partial paralysis, and death.
If you experience these, or ANY unusual symptoms after swimming, playing, or walking near a body of water with your dog, visit your veterinarian immediately.
Blue-green algae testing is now available!
Until now the only way to be sure that waters were safe for pets was to conduct expensive tests that took days to provide results. But now 5Strands® Affordable Testing is offering a simple yet accurate and affordable blue-green algae test that will provide reliable results within as little as ten minutes. 5Strands® Affordable Testing offers the ONLY rapid and reliable test which can provide peace-of-mind for families and their pets.