Keeping Your Dog Safe from Toxic Blue-Green Algae

Veterinarians around the country are warning dog owners about the hazards of exposing your dog to bodies of standing water that have algae containing a poisonous bacterium known as cyanobacteria.

Toxic blue-green algae was responsible for the deaths of several dogs in the US and Canada this summer.

Veterinarians report that the algae itself is not harmful, but if your dog ingests water with algae containing the bacteria, she could be at risk for serious health problems.

The Animal Poison Control Center’s Pet Poison Helpline lists the following symptoms to watch for:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Blood in stool or black, tarry stool
  • Pale mucous membranes
  • Jaundice
  • Seizures
  • Disorientation
  • Coma
  • Shock
  • Excessive secretions (e.g., salivation, lacrimation, etc.)
  • Neurologic signs (including muscle tremors, muscle rigidity, paralysis, etc.)
  • Blue discoloration of the skin and mucous membranes
  • Difficulty breathing

There is no antidote for cyanobacteria poisoning, so prevention and immediate veterinary care are essential.

Keep your dog away from bodies of standing water that contain algae blooms.  If you suspect that your dog has ingested water containing this toxin, seek veterinary care right away.

For more information on blue-green algae poisoning, check out this post, including a video, on the Today Show website.