Blue-green Algae is toxic for pets and humans

**Warning** Dogs that enjoy swimming and playing in dams may be exposed to blue-green algae.  
Low water levels (which increases the water temperatures) during hot dry months can increase the risk of algae developing, which poses a danger to both dogs and humans.

Hunting dogs are especially predisposed due to increased exposure outdoors.

Clinical signs of Algae Poisoning

This is dependent on the toxin involved, microcystins can result in liver damage or failure.

Signs of liver injury include:
• vomiting
• diarrhea,
• blood in stool or black, tarry stool,
• weakness,
• pale mucous membranes,
• jaundice,
• seizures,
• disorientation,
• coma and shock.

Death generally follows within days as a result of liver failure.
Blood work changes include elevated liver enzymes, a low blood sugar, a low protein, and even abnormal clotting.
Aggressive, immediate treatment is necessary to help treat this quick-acting, potentially fatal poison!

Cyanobacteria, also known as Cyanophyta, is a phylum of bacteria that obtain their energy through photosynthesis. The name "cyanobacteria" comes from the color of the bacteria. They are often called blue-green algae. Source : The Good Vet Guide

Toxic for Humans and Animals

  • If you think you are experiencing symptoms related to exposure to blue-green algae (e.g., stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting, headache, fever, muscle weakness, difficulty breathing), contact your doctor.
  • If your pet displays symptoms such as seizures, vomiting, or diarrhea after contact with surface water, contact your veterinarian right away.

What are blue-green algae?

Blue-green algae, also known as Cyanobacteria, are a group of photosynthetic bacteria that many people refer to as "pond scum." Blue-green algae are most often blue-green in color, but can also be blue, green, reddish-purple, or brown. Blue-green algae generally grow in lakes, ponds, and slow-moving streams when the water is warm and enriched with nutrients like phosphorus or nitrogen.

When environmental conditions are just right, blue-green algae can grow very quickly in number. Most species are buoyant and will float to the surface, where they form scum layers or floating mats. When this happens, we call this a "blue-green algae bloom."

 

What can I do about algae in my pond or lake?

There are no simple answers. Algae may grow for a variety of reasons, but nutrients generally limit algae growth. Any long-term solution to algae management involves nutrient reduction. Taking steps to manage nutrient inputs to a water body is crucial, although many times nutrient management involves managing the entire watershed and not just the area immediately around the lake.

How do blue-green algae differ from true algae?

Blue-green algae, like true algae, make up a portion of the phytoplankton in many water bodies. However, blue-green algae are generally not eaten by other aquatic organisms, and thus are not an important part of the food chain.

True algae (e.g., green algae) are very important to the food chain. They are known as "primary producers", a name given to living organisms that can convert sunlight and inorganic chemicals into usable energy for other living organisms. Most algae are microscopic and serve as the main supply of "high energy" food for larger organisms like zooplankton, which in turn are eaten by small fish. Small fish are then eaten by larger fish, and both small and large fish are eaten by mammals, raptors, and people.  Source : Blue Green Algae


 

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