Experts say that while not all blue green algae are poisonous, it is impossible to tell the difference visually so are urging pet owners to take care.
The Mirror reports that UK dog owners are being warned about a deadly green slime blooming in the hot weather which could kill their pet in 15 minutes.
Lakes and ponds across the country are being swamped by a toxic
blue-green algae called cyanobacteria. In long periods of high temperatures it multiplies and forms vast, deadly carpets on the surface. Dogs leaping into the water who swallow it or lick it off their coats could die within quarter of an hour.
Symptoms of exposure can appear within a few minutes or hours, depending on the type of toxin ingested, and commonly include:
vomiting, diarrhoea, drooling, disorientation, trouble breathing, seizures and blood in faeces.
Experts say that while not all blue green algae are poisonous, it is impossible to tell the difference visually so are urging pet owners to take care. If left untreated, it can cause liver damage and ultimately be rapidly fatal.
The Cotswold Water Park holiday hot-spot near Swindon has posted notices urging owners to keep their pets on short leads. The bacteria has hit other popular tourist lakes in Wiltshire and Gloucestershire including Neigh Bridge Country Park.
The Blue Cross animal charity warned “Blooms of blue-green algae can produce harmful toxins which stop a dog’s liver from functioning properly. “Sadly, exposure to toxic blue-green algae is often fatal, and can also cause long term health problems in dogs that survive after drinking or swimming in algae-contaminated water.
“Some types of blue-green algae can kill a dog just 15 minutes to an hour after drinking contaminated water. “Dogs who have been swimming in water can get the algae caught in their fur, and can ingest it while cleaning themselves later on.
“Concentrations of the algae vary throughout the year and may not always be harmful – but you can’t tell simply by looking at them whether or not they are dangerous, so it is best not to run the risk of allowing your dog to come into contact with water where the algae may be present.”
British Veterinary Association president Daniella Dos Santos said “We are hearing of increasing numbers of blue green algae sightings across the UK during this warm summer. “We know that some dogs enjoy nothing better than a paddle in a cool lake while on a walk, but we’d urge pet owners to keep their dog on a lead during walks near water confirmed to have toxic algal blooms.
“While not all blue green algae are poisonous, it is impossible to tell the difference visually, so it is better to be safe than sorry. “There is currently no known antidote for the toxins, so prompt veterinary treatment is the only way to tackle their effects and ensure a good chance of recovery for your pet. “If you suspect your dog has been exposed to blue green algae, seek emergency veterinary treatment as soon as possible.”
The BVA is urging pet owners to look out for any warning signs put up by the Environment Agency or local councils near lakes, canals and other water bodies.
The BVA said “Keep pets on a lead and by your side around water bodies known or suspected to have blue-green algal bloom – don’t let them swim in it or drink from it. “If your dog has been swimming outside, wash it thoroughly with clean water afterwards. “Seek emergency veterinary treatment in case you’re concerned it may have ingested toxic algae.”
(Story source: The Mirror)