World Media

How to spot the toxic algae that’s killing dogs in the Southeast

Share
Melissa Martin and Denise Mintz's three dogs

The tragedy comes days after three dogs died from algae poisoning after swimming at a North Carolina pond believed to have been contaminated by blue-green toxic algae. She died soon after.

According to Alberta Health Services, ingestion of blue-green algae may lead to skin irritation, rash, sore throat, sore red eyes, swollen lips, fever, nausea and vomiting and/or diarrhea. Unsafe blue-green algae has been killing dogs in the Southeast, but now we're learning it's also closer to home.

Schmale said he hasn't seen a coroner's report to verify the causes of death, still he speculates the dogs were thirsty and the water contaminated.

Exposure to blue/green algae often proves fatal to dogs and although signage should indicate any potential danger, always avoid water that is dull/murky in colour and has an unpleasant smell. HABs can produce toxins that have caused a variety of illnesses in people and animals. A study by NY health officials in 2017, also published by the CDC, documented 51 cases of algae-related illness among people and dogs during 2015. Most things we consider algae are plants or very closely related to plants, like species of seaweed. The blooms have also prompted warnings in Sudbury, Ontario.

Martin told CNN that she didn't notice the algae at first, but, as she learned from her veterinarian, what appeared to be debris from flowers was actually blooms of cyanobacteria.

The algae blooms are most likely to occur during periods of hot, humid weather.

Martin told the news outlet that her dogs were exposed to the bacteria-ridden algae during their swim.

Through a GoFundMe page, the couple is now trying to raise awareness and money to purchase signs that would be placed in front of all local bodies of water contaminated with the bacteria.

"I think a lot of people don't realize just how toxic it can be", said Natalie Gruchow, a certified veterinary practice manager at Animal Health Clinic.

A Go Fund Me page has been set up by Melissa's friends in a bid to spread the word and share this information with every pet owner. Even the Environmental Protection Agency, which has been reluctant to discuss climate impacts under the Trump administration, still says as much for the time being.

Share