Blue-green Algae – What’s the Fuss?

September 12, 2019Announcements
Author:

This summer, blue-green algae has been in the news a lot. Dogs who are exposed get very sick without warning, and exposure can be fatal. Where is it coming from, and what can you do?

Blue-green algae grows in ponds and is not algae but cyanobacteria, a primitive organism. There are benign types — like spirulina – that are marketed as a nutritional supplement. And there are toxic types, which are not identifiable just by looking at them and are not always visible as large patches. These overgrowths, or blooms, happen with increased nutrient levels and warm water temperatures.

The toxins target either the liver or the nervous system. Signs of exposure can be vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, salivating, lethargy, convulsions, seizures, or blue mucous membranes. These toxins act quickly, usually within a short time of being exposed to the water. There is no specific antidote, but supportive care can help save the dog. If exposed, your dog needs to get emergency treatment ASAP.

On warm days, you can look in the water for areas of pea soup appearance. Easthampton has closed one pond because of concerns about toxic algae. If you think your dog has been exposed, get him emergency treatment. If you are not sure or your dog is showing mild signs, hose him off.

Blue-green algae is becoming more common because our climate is changing and pond water is staying warm longer. In addition, nutrients — waste and fertilizer run-off — pollute ponds and cause these blooms.

What to do?

  • Avoid water with the algae blooms.
  • Be cautious about letting your dog swim, especially in still water.
  • Vote for candidates who support measures to control global warming.

Some helpful links:

https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poison/blue-green-algae/

https://www.aspca.org/news/pet-safety-alert-rising-dangers-blue-green-algae

https://www.epa.gov/nutrientpollution/climate-change-and-harmful-algal-blooms

https://www.livescience.com/48853-spirulina-supplement-facts.html

“Thank you so much for the love and care you give to the animals and the humans of our family.”

Beth, Northampton

“We’ve been bringing our Great Pyrenees to Riverbend since he was 8 wks old. Doctors, staff, reception … all professional, caring, and a wealth of knowledge and experience! Thanks everybody!”

Dave and Deb, Belchertown

“Barney could not have had better care or felt more love than he did with his visits to see his friends at Riverbend. He always got the royal treatment!”

Candy and Jim, Springfield

“We are so grateful for all of the hard work you do! Thanks so much for being the best!”

Pete and Luke, Greenfield

“The communication, education and attention given to the pet owners before, during and after the surgery is so appreciated by our family.”

Lee Ann, Union, CT