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Toxic Ponds – the dangers of Blue-Green Algae
2 September 2015
Blue-green algae is most commonly seen during the summer months. It grows in stagnant water or ponds where it forms ‘blooms’ that give the water a blue-green or ‘pea soup’ like colour. It can also look like blue-green paint on the surface of the water.
The algae produces toxins (poisons) that can affect people, livestock and pets. Not all blue-green blooms produce toxins, but it is impossible to tell which are dangerous without testing, and therefore all blooms should be considered potentially toxic.
Dogs drinking or swimming in contaminated water are at risk, as even a few mouthfuls can be fatal. Symptoms include severe vomiting and/or diarrhoea, as well as liver failure or neurological symptoms such as convulsions (seizures or fits). Death can occur within 30 minutes of exposure. There is no antidote to the poisons in blue-green algae, but intensive supportive treatment may be helpful in some cases, depending on the amount of toxin ingested.
So be cautious and watchful around any ‘suspicious-looking’ water – and if you suspect that your pet has ingested blue-green algae, it is vital that you contact your vet as a matter of urgency.