Tips From the Pet Poison HELPLINE -- Blue-Green Algae

 |  Jul 25th 2007  |   1 Contribution


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We all want to keep our furbabies safe and healthy. Dogster Kristy Sweetland, furmom to Seva and Finlay, will be providing weekly tips and warnings from the Pet Poison HELPLINE to make that job easier. As a veterinary technician with the Pet Poison HELPLINE she's going to help us all stay more on top of what's dangerous for our furry family members.

Blue-Green Algae

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The dog days of summer can bring with them green blankets of smelly goo on our small bodies of water! Not so pleasing to the eye and in fact potentially harmful. Blue-Green algae (Cyanobacteria) are found in both fresh and salt water throughout the USA and temperate regions of the world.


If ingested, toxicity to the nervous system or the liver can rapidly occur. Not all algae blooms are highly poisonous but its difficult to determine the danger with the naked eye. If toxicity should occur, it would generally be fairly quick- usually within four hours.

Signs observed could be variable and plentiful. They may include vomiting and diarrhea, muscle rigidity, difficulty breathing, tremors, seizures, paralysis, lethargy, and sudden death. Being that the toxicity is severe and so difficult to predict, it is advisable to prevent your dog from swimming in a stagnant body of water. Alarms should fire if your find your dog has a highly stagnant smell to his or her wet coat, or if you see that your dog vomits a large quantity of algae. Call your vet or our poison control center should you worry or wonder about the well-being of your pet after a suspicious swim.

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