- Blue-Green Algae
algae (Cyanobacteria) are microscopic bacteria found in
freshwater lakes, streams and ponds. They can produce toxins
that affect people, livestock and pets that swim in and
drink from the contaminated water. Blue - green algae will
grow to form areas that give the water a blue-green
appearance in colour which can appear like a paint or film
on top of the water. Algal concentrations vary throughout
the year and are most likely to be found in nutrient-rich
water. There are many species of blue-green algae; only some
produce toxic compounds. These toxins have a high acute
toxicity and exposure frequently results in fatality.
How can it
impact my pet?
Dogs that enjoy
swimming, playing or drinking in lakes and ponds may be
exposed to blue-green algae as well as other pets that may
have access to the water. DO NOT allow your pet to swim in
lakes or ponds that have blue-green algae or signs warning
of its potential presence.
What are the
clinical signs of my pet being affected?
picture will be dependent on the type of algae and toxin
ingested. The onsets of the effects are usually within one
hour and can be within 15 minutes. The blue-algae can cause
acute vomiting, abdominal tenderness, hyper-salivation,
haematemesis, blue discolouration to the skin, breathing
difficulties and tremors. Liver failure may also develop
What do I do
if I think my pet has been exposed to the blue-green algae?
there is no antidote for the toxins produced by blue-green
algae. Immediate veterinary care is imperative and your pet
must be taken to your registered vets. Unfortunately, with
blue-green algae, the prognosis can be very poor, and some
dogs actually pass away before being able to get to a
veterinarian so its vital you have the number of your local
vet in your wallet or phone in case of any emergency.
What is the
treatment if my pet has been affected?
Once your pet
has reached the vets your pet may be made to be sick to get
as much of the substance out of their system as possible.
Absorbents such as activated charcoal may also be given the
toxins to be absorbed this way as opposed to being absorbed
by the animal themselves. Once stabilised your pet will be
washed to remove any residue from their coat. Blood tests
will also be taken to monitor liver enzymes. With any
poisoning, the sooner you seek treatment the better the
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