Algae Poisoning in Dogs

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On hot summer days, it can be nice to cool off with a bath for both two- and four-legged friends. In most cases, this is completely safe. You should still be careful on hot summer days with little wind, because water containing blooming algae can result in algae poisoning.

If your dog is poisoned it can become seriously ill. Unfortunately, such poisoning is potentially fatal and symptoms can appear within a short time of exposure. You should always contact a veterinarian if you suspect that your dog has been poisoned. Early treatment can save lives.

Common symptoms of blue-green algae poisoning are tremors, vomiting/diarrhoea, poor balance and convulsions. Exposure both through the skin and through ingestion of poisoned water can cause symptoms.

Bathing animals are affected

The blue-green algae blooms from July to September. When the bloom occurs, many of the algae will die and poisons (toxins) will then be released into the water. In large quantities, these substances are toxic to both animals and humans. After an algal bloom, you will often see that the water has a blue-green, green to yellow-green color and is cloudy. If you discover this, you and your dog should stay away from the water.

Animals are most often exposed to algae poisoning, as they ingest the water when they bathe or drink. Algae and the toxins can be found in both fresh water, brackish water and salt water.

Even if the surface appears clean, the water may still be toxic if the algae bloom occurred a few days ago. The toxins released are very dangerous and in some cases small amounts of water can make your dog seriously ill. There are over 30 different species of algae that can cause poisoning.

How to prevent algae poisoning

You must not bathe in or drink water that you suspect is contaminated with algae. If it has nevertheless happened that your dog has bathed in contaminated water, you must rinse the fur clean after the dog comes out of the water. There must be no toxic algae left in the fur. As the toxic algae is also poisonous to humans, you should protect yourself when washing the dog.

Contact your vet if you suspect algae poisoning.

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