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    Blue-Green Algae in Water – Not Safe for Dogs or People

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    Avoid Water That Looks Like This

    For many dogs, summer often means swimming in lakes, rivers, or ponds. Along with the standard water safety steps (close observation, doggie PFDs, etc) and post-swimming ear cleaning to avoid ear irritation and infections, there’s something else you need to be aware of when you take your dogs swimming (or hiking, or camping near water) … blue-green algae. 

    These dangerous algal blooms are most common during periods of high heat.

    Dogs that drink water containing blue-green algae, or that groom the algae off their coat after swimming in such water, can exhibit a range of signs, including:swamp-water-algae

    • Uncoordinated walking (“Ataxia”)
    • Drooling
    • Vomiting
    • Diarrhea
    • Collapse
    • Seizures

    If you’re noticing these signs in your dog, at any time, they need to be seen by a veterinarian right away. These are very serious signs indeed, and may well indicate liver failure from blue-green algae exposure.

    Here’s more information on blue-green algae in dogs.

    Danger for dogs and people – lurking in ponds and lakes

    Oh, and be aware, these algae aren’t just a problem for your pets — they can cause illness in children and adults, too! To find out if there are any blue-green algae warnings in your state, just google “blue green algae (insert your state)” or check out these state-by-state resources: interactive map of state's blue-green algae labs and monitoring and state-by-state harmful algal bloom monitoring resources.

    For more water-related hazards, check out our Dog Swimming: Safety in Rivers, Lakes, and Oceans article.

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    Topics: Dog Safety, Dog, Swimming, Ataxia, Seizures, Diarrhea, Skin irritation, Dogs Outdoors

    Photo Credit: Preventive Vet

    Please do not ask emergency or other specific medical questions about your pets in the blog comments. As an online informational resource, Preventive Vet is unable to and does not provide specific medical advice or counseling. A thorough physical exam, patient history, and an established veterinary-patient-client relationship is required to provide specific medical advice. If you are worried that your pet is having an emergency or if you have specific medical questions related to your pet’s current or chronic medical conditions, please contact or visit your veterinarian, an animal-specific poison control hotline, or your local emergency veterinary care center.

    Please share your experiences and stories, your opinions and feedback about this blog, or what you've learned that you'd like to share with others.