submitted by PDSA
Dog owners are warned to steer well clear of stagnant ponds* when
catching some late summer sun with their pet. According to a leading
veterinary charity, this is ideal weather for highly toxic
‘blue-green algae’** to bloom. This can kill if dogs drink
contaminated water or swim in it and then groom themselves.
Senior Veterinary Surgeon at PDSA, Elaine Pendlebury, said:
“Toxins produced by, or contained within, some types of algae are
extremely poisonous and death is common and rapid – symptoms
occur within 15 minutes to one hour of exposure. Death can happen
within 10 to 30 minutes of this and usually within 24 hours of
swallowing the toxin.”
Algae can be more concentrated at water edges and even small amounts
of water can contain lethal doses. In some instances, dogs have been
found dead at the edge of the water.
The first signs of a problem include severe vomiting which may
contain blood which then can lead to more serious symptoms. With the
more toxic algae, breathing difficulties, collapse and death can
develop within 15 minutes of exposure to the toxin. Although affected
dogs can survive if treated quickly, clinical effects may show over a
longer period of time and they may develop kidney or liver failure.
Elaine concludes: “Blue-green algae is particularly prevalent
at this time of year, especially with this late summer sun we are
currently enjoying. So we want dog owners to be aware of just how
dangerous it can be. Dogs are particularly at risk when they drink from
watering holes like ponds where the algae has spread rapidly, usually
when it is sunny and the water has a high temperature.”
* Owners should beware of any stagnant pools. Algae can live on the
surface or the bottom of the water, so the pond won’t always have
a scum on the surface.
** Though known as blue-green algae, it can vary in colour – some are red and some are black as well as blue-green.