If your dog loves swimming in local lakes and hydrating themselves from puddles and ponds, they could be at risk of blue-green algae poisoning.
Expert vet Dr Scott Miller explains how to spot the algae, what symptoms to look out for, and how algae poisoning is treated in dogs.
Blue-green algae is a harmful bacteria found in stagnant or slow-moving bodies of water. This includes ponds, rivers, lakes, and even the sea.
The algae is poisonous to dogs as it can release different toxins that cause organ failure and other serious illnesses. Contact with this dangerous bacteria can also be fatal if left untreated.
Blue-green algae can be found all year round but tend to thrive in hot and sunny weather. You’ll tend to spot more of its large blooms in the summer months.
Even a few small drops of water contaminated with blue-green algae can make your pup very ill.
It often doesn’t take long for the signs of blue-green algae poisoning to appear. You’ll usually notice symptoms within a few minutes but some may only start to appear after a few days.
Symptoms can get worse quickly so it’s important to know what to look out for.
It’s not always easy to spot blue-green algae if there isn’t clumping (blooms). Signs to look out for include:
You can also find reported areas of blue-green algae on UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology Bloomin’ Algae app. The app encourages you to submit your own sightings and help protect other pets and their owners.
Recognising the signs of blue-green algae poisoning as early as possible could help to save your dog’s life.
Symptoms can vary and include:
Your dog will need urgent treatment if they have algae poisoning. Time is of the essence to avoid a fatal outcome.
Depending on the severity of your dog’s symptoms, your vet may:
There’s a few ways to help keep your dog safe from algae poisoning:
Humans can also fall ill after coming into contact with blue-green algae.
Wear gloves when helping your dog and be sure to contact your doctor if you’re starting to feel unwell.
Cats (and other animals) can fall ill from blue-green algae toxins. Contact your vet as soon as possible if you think your cat has been poisoned.