Toxic blooms of blue green algae have been appearing in ponds and lakes in Canada and the United States. Because of this, it’s important for all pet owners to know that this substance is very dangerous our four legged friends. Blue green algae is caused by cyanobacteria. Warm bodies of water in the summer, particularly those which may contain fertilizer runoff or sewage are particularly susceptible. If they’re visible, they appear as a green, blue, brown or red material floating on the water.

Cyanobacteria may irritate the skin and gastrointestinal tract of humans. However, exposure can kill pets in as little 15 minutes. In pets, the bacteria primary affects the liver. Dogs can develop poisoning when they drink from, or even swim in contaminated water sources. Signs you can look for are vomiting, diarrhea, blood in stool, seizures, salivation and difficulty breathing. This will be especially important to watch for in dogs that enjoy swimming, hunting dogs, or any pets who spend a lot of time outside.

When it comes to pet toxins, prevention is key. Don’t allow your pets to swim in or drink from lakes, ponds, or any other bodies of water that may be affected. Contact your local health unit if you think you’ve found any area with cyanobacteria. And if you are concerned your pet may have been exposed, don’t hesitate to Contact Us Today!

For more information on blue green algae/cyanobacteria visit the Pet Poison Helpline or