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July 09, 2021
What Exactly Is Blue-Green Algae?
Blue-green algae, also known as Cyanobacteria, are a group of photosynthetic bacteria that generally grow in lakes, ponds and slow-moving streams when the water is warm and enriched with nutrients like phosphorus or nitrogen. Most species are buoyant and will float to the surface, where they form scum layers or floating mats. When this happens, it’s called a "blue-green algae bloom."
Why Blue-Green Algae Is Dangerous to Dogs
When blue-green algae bloom, the bacterium become incredibly toxic to dogs and humans alike. It’s especially dangerous to dogs because of their tendency to play in the water. If your dog is a fetcher and catches tennis balls or other round-shaped toys, this can lead to greater ingestion of water containing the algae. Dogs may also lick the toxic bacteria off their fur or paws.
Symptoms of Blue-Green Algae Toxicity
If blue-green algae is ingested, it can cause severe neurologic or liver damage.
Signs of blue-green algae toxicity include:
If your dog begins to experience any of these symptoms, you should contact your veterinarian immediately.
It’s all about staying alert when it comes to any pet toxin. Don’t allow your pets to drink from or swim in stagnant bodies of water that have bluish-green scum on the surface or around the edges.
Keep your dog on a leash around bodies of water, especially if the water appears dirty, foamy, or has mats on the surface of the water.
Rinse down everything when you’re around stagnant water. This includes your dogs, shoes, toys, anything. We all know how fond our four-legged friends are of licking things, especially smelly things like blue-green algae.
Make sure your dog remains cool in the hot sun. As we’ve discussed, it’s too risky to trust your dog to cool off in stagnant water, so think of alternative ways to keep them comfortable in the heat. Cooler Dog makes a variety of collars, vests, and mats to do just that for our best friends. As dangerous as blue-algae toxicity is, heat stress is also hazardous to your dog.
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