Blue-Green Algae Is Poisoning Dogs After Swimming in Ponds and Lakes

The dangers of dogs swimming in ponds during hot summer months

Melissa Martin, a local realtor, said she went with her dogs, Abby, Harpo and Izzy, to a pond in Wilmington so they could play around. 15 minutes later one of the dogs, a West Highland terrier called Abby, had a seizure.

All three dogs began to seize and rapidly decline by the time they made it to the veterinary hospital. Izzy began having a seizure upon their arrival and Harpo began seizing and showing signs of liver failure after that.

The harmful algae can cause skin rash and gastrointestinal illness, such as upset stomach, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

"What started out as a fun night for them has ended in the biggest loss of our lives ..."

By midnight Friday, all three dogs had died, she said.

Martin and Mintz are now seeking to spread the word about the dangers of blue-green algae.

'We are now on a mission to put signs at every body of water that can have this deadly bacteria, ' Martin said. I would give anything to have one more day with them, ' Martin wrote later on her Facebook page.

The algae can be hard to fight because it will only be in the lakes for a week or two, sometime even just one day.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is warning about a potentially toxic blue-green algae bloom at Rathbun Lake in southeast Iowa.

On top of that, it can be hard to detect where algae blooms have formed.

If your pet comes into contact with toxic algae, the CDC recommends rinsing them with tap water as soon as possible and consulting a veterinarian. They've set up a fundraiser to purchase signs and erect them in front of contaminated water to prevent further pet deaths. She now hopes to use the donations from the GoFundMe account to make sure other pet owners are not caught off-guard. Massive blooms can occur in environments when significant amounts of nutrients, either from fertilizer or other natural processes, run off into waterways, producing conditions that allow the organisms to overwhelm a body of water.

Both of the toxins act fast and cause severe health problems that can lead to death hours, and sometimes minutes, after a dog accidentally ingests algal bloom water. However, if a health notice isn't posted, it's recommended that humans and pets avoid waters that seem murky or smell bad.

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