If you've recently made the decision to welcome a canine companion into your household, you naturally want your new friend to share in your outdoor activities. You undoubtedly already know that your furry friend will need protection against fleas and ticks, but what about other potential health hazards that are lurking in the great outdoors?
If your outdoor activities include recreating in and around bodies of water, you need to know the following four things about blue-green algae and how it can affect your dog's health:
Definition of Blue-Green Algae
Blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, is a type of bacterium found in fresh and salt water. While it is essential for producing oxygen in the water, blue-green algae can also produce toxic substances that can be harmful to humans and other mammals.
Toxins Produced by Blue-Green Algae
The toxins produced by blue-green algae are called microcystins, which can cause liver damage and even death in dogs. Symptoms of poisoning from blue-green algae include vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, and in severe cases, death. The symptoms can occur within hours of exposure, so it is important to act quickly if you suspect that your dog has been exposed.
Dogs are at higher risk of exposure to blue-green algae because they often drink from or swim in stagnant bodies of water where algae can easily grow. Algae blooms can also occur in ponds, lakes, and rivers that are nutrient-rich and warm, making it more likely for dogs to be exposed.
Symptoms of Blue-Green Algae Poisoning in Dogs
Dogs that have been exposed to blue-green algae can experience a range of symptoms, including:
- Respiratory distress
Unfortunately, by the time these symptoms present, it may be too late to save the animal. It is recommended that you take your dog to the nearest veterinarian hospital immediately if you suspect that it has ingested blue-green algae. Early treatment is crucial for the survival of your dog and to prevent long-term health problems.
Protecting Your Dog
To protect your dog from blue-green algae, it is important to avoid allowing them to drink or swim in water that is green, stagnant, or has a strong odor. If you see any signs of algae blooms in the water, keep your dog away from it and report it to the local authorities. It is also recommended to keep your dog on a leash and avoid allowing them to drink from any bodies of water that you are unsure about. Keep in mind that the algae is most likely to be present during warm and sunny days.
Visit a vet hospital to find out more.