In the News: The Rising Dangers of Blue-Green Algae

Aug 27, 2019 by

Dog Swimming in a Pond
 
Edmond’s local dog park was recently closed due to blue-green algae in its pond. As such, we wanted to touch upon this issue by explaining what blue-green algae is, why it occurs, why it’s dangerous, and what you should know about it as a pet parent.
 

What Is Blue-Green Algae?

 
As the earth warms due to climate change, there has been a rise in harmful algal blooms or HABs. These are toxic blooms of algae that occur naturally in lakes, streams, and other bodies of fresh water. Blue-green algae blooms arise from a type of bacteria called cyanobacteria, which can be dangerous to people and animals.
 

Blue-Green Algae Is Dangerous to Pets

 
It is normally safe for pet owners to bring their dogs to ponds, streams, lakes, and other bodies of fresh water. Dogs can usually have fun playing in the water and even take a few drinks without issue. However, pets (and humans and other wildlife) can become extremely sick and even die if they swim or drink in water that is contaminated with blue-green algae.
 

How Can You Spot Blue-Green Algae?

 
These algal blooms often appear as surface scum or foam, which right sits below the surface of the water. It may be blue, green, or other colors.

Blue-green algae blooms occur most often during the summer when temperatures rise. They also tend to collect along shorelines of lakes and ponds where most pets would be swimming, playing, or drinking the water.
 

How to Protect Your Pet from Blue-Green Algae Intoxication

 
Know what signs and symptoms to look for. If your pet has been exposed to blue-green alae toxicity, they may have the following symptoms:

  • Excessive panting and/or drooling
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Seizures
  • Disorientation
  • Respiratory failure
  • Liver failure

These symptoms may progress quickly and can ultimately lead to death.

If you notice any of the symptoms listed above or suspect that your pet has been exposed to blue-green algae, contact Sunset Veterinary Clinic at (405) 844-2888 as soon as possible to have your pet seen by one of our vets. It is crucial that they receive immediate medical attention.

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