Toxic Blue-Green Algae and Its Danger for Dogs

You’ve heard of algae before, and maybe even blue-green algae. But did you know that blue-green algae is a danger for our canine friends? According to the Environmental Protection Agency, it’s a problem in all 50 states, especially coastal ones. Read on as your veterinarian Bend, OR tells you more about blue-green algae and its danger for dogs.

Why is blue-green algae toxic to animals?

Strangely, blue-green algae is a misnomer; it isn’t really algae. It’s actually a type of bacteria known as cyanobacteria. Cyanobacteria is an umbrella term that refers to a group of microorganisms that live in water and on land. Various species of cyanobacteria can produce toxins known as cyanotoxins—this is the root of the danger for pets. Ask your vet Bend, OR for more insight into the cyanobacteria family.

Cyanotoxins themselves are grouped into various categories. Neurotoxins affect the brain; dermatological toxins affect the skin; hepatotoxins affect the liver. All of these present a risk to your pet. Talk to your veterinary clinic Bend, OR to learn more about each of these types of toxins.

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How do dogs come into contact with cyanobacteria in the first place? It usually happens when your pup takes a dip in a lake, pond, or stream. Our canine friends might drink water from these bodies of water, even if they don’t swim in them. Ask your vets Bend, OR whether or not cyanobacteria might be a problem near you.

You can usually tell if a body of water contains cyanobacteria if you see a kind of slick floating on the water’s surface. Blue-green algae also sometimes has a pungent odor. It also affects the color of the water; you might see greens, blues, browns, and even red shades. Talk to your veterinarians Bend, OR to learn more about identifying cyanobacteria by sight.

What are the symptoms of poisoning?

Symptoms of cyanobacteria poisoning can vary depending on the type of cyanotoxin that’s produced. A hepatotoxin, for instance, can lead to symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea, blood in the stool, and jaundice. A neurotoxin might cause disorientation, respiratory difficulty, tremors, lethargy, heart failure, and seizures. Of course, these are serious problems—call your vet clinic Bend, OR right away if your pet is exhibiting these symptoms.

How is blue-green algae poisoning treated?

Exact treatment for cyanotoxin poisoning will depend on the particular cyanotoxin that’s poisoned your dog. Vomiting may need to be induced. Activated charcoal is sometimes given to stop the poison’s absorption in the gut. Anti-seizure medications and other types of medications might be necessary depending on your pooch’s symptoms. As with any case of toxicity, the earlier the treatment, the better. Keep your animal hospital Bend, OR number on hand to call in the event of an emergency.

Can blue-green algae poisoning be prevented?

The best way to prevent poisoning by blue-green algae is to keep your dog from swimming in lakes, ponds, streams, and other bodies of water. It’s especially important if the water looks slick, smells bad, or is a strange color. Never let your dog drink from these sources of water, either. Talk to your pet clinic Bend, OR for more advice on keeping Fido away from cyanobacteria.

To learn more about blue-green algae and other outdoor threats for dogs, contact your vet Bend, OR.

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