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Toxic Dog-Killing Algae Found In California

Dog owners beware of the deadly toxic, blue-green algae blooms lurking in California ponds, lakes and reservoirs. Several dogs in the southeast have died within hours of frolicking in contaminated waters this summer. Now scientists in California are now issuing advisories that the poisonous algae has been discovered in our state. According to the Sacramento Bee, poisonous algae has been detected in the San Luis Reservoir in Merced County  – San Jose’s Lake Almaden –  and as far north as the Klamath River near the Oregon state line and south in San Diego County.

Algae is naturally occurring in water, but the blue-green algae variety can produce poisons that have the potential to be deadly to people, pets and wildlife. 

The US Environmental Protection Agency, advises:

Don’t let your dog drink or swim in water if:
  • It’s slimy or looks like foam, scum or mats on the surface of the water.
  • The color is weird. Harmful algal blooms can be blue, bright green, brown or red and may look like paint floating on the water.
  • It stinks. Some (but not all) harmful algae produce a nauseating smell.
If you think your dog has gotten into a harmful algae bloom:
  • Rinse him or her off immediately. Wear gloves to protect yourself and give your dog a thorough rinse in clean, fresh water.
  • Watch for symptoms. Symptoms can arise anywhere from 15 minutes to several days after exposure. Take pets to the vet immediately if they suffer from:
    • Diarrhea or vomiting
    • Weakness or staggering
    • Drooling, difficulty breathing or convulsions
  • Report the bloom to your state’s health department.

Marilyn Nelson

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