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The Dangers of Blue-green Algae

With the recent high temperatures and lack of rainfall across the UK, blue-green algae is on the rise. In this blog we take a look at what blue-green algae is, and what it can mean for you and your dog.

Blue-green algae is a term used to describe a group of bacteria. This bacterium cannot be seen with the naked eye, however in certain environments, it can clump together and be seen as a greenish bundle, green flakes or brown dots. This will be visible towards the surface of water such as ponds, lakes or streams. When the algae then bloom, it can look like blue-green coating or foam on the surface of the water.

Buddies Pet Insurance - Dangers of Blue-green AlgaeSadly, exposure to blue-green algae is often fatal as the toxins can cause a dog’s liver to fail. Dogs that survive swimming in or consuming contaminated water are often left with long term health problems. When consumed by humans, the algae can damage the liver and nervous system.

If your dog should come into contact with potentially contaminated water, you should contact your vet immediately. Look out for the following symptoms –

  • Excessive drooling
  • Seizures
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Breathing difficulties

Although there is no cure for a contaminated dog, if caught quickly enough, the vet can use treatments to make your dog sick. This then may allow the dog to flush the toxins from the body before they have chance to take effect.

The best thing to do is prevent. If you are concerned a local lake, pond or stream could be affected, stay clear. Many local councils or land owners will display signs to warn of potential contamination. If you spot any water which you believe may be contaminated, with no signs visible, contact the environmental agency.

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