Toxic Algae

toxic algae

As summer gets underway, taking your dog to the lakes or a river is a great way to keep cool and enjoy time with family.

Unfortunately, warm weather also causes Cyanobacteria, a type of toxic algae, to grow rapidly. It can grow on the bottom of riverbeds, and look like a slimy, dark brown or black mat. In lakes, it can make the water look cloudy and green.

Dogs can be exposed by drinking water or swimming in affected areas, and they are very sensitive to it. A piece of algae the size of a 50-cent coin can make them ill very quickly.

Signs of toxicity include; panting, tremors or convulsions, and they may die within 30 minutes if enough is consumed.

If you suspect your dog has been exposed, seek veterinary care immediately. Unfortunately, there is no specific antidote, so prevention is best!

You can find further information as to whether it is safe to swim on the environment canterbury website – however even if levels are safe for humans to swim, there could still be enough algae to make a dog very sick.  

If the river flow is low and the water doesn’t look quite right, it’s best to keep your dog out.

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