Pet owners warned to be careful when playing in bodies of water with pets

Pet owners warned to be careful when playing in bodies of water with pets
(Source: brittany dionne)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - There are new warnings about a silent danger lurking in creeks and ponds that have killed dogs in North Carolina and Georgia in the last couple of days.

It’s called blue-green algae and you may or may not be able to see it.

Some types of blue-green algae also called Cyanobacteria are toxic and potentially deadly.

The organism is likely to infest bodies of fresh water, especially in still water.

“Isn’t that harmful to dogs,” pet owner, Mark Muhihu asked.

Muhihu and his dog “Usiku” play at the Hoover Dog Park often.

“I actually taught him how swim back here in the creek,” Muhihu said. “After he gets dirty here, he’ll just go over there and wash off and I’ll clean him off with a towel.”

Now Muhihu is thinking twice about jumping into any bodies of water in light of three dogs dying in North Carolina and one dog in Georgia. According to their owners, it was after exposure to blue-green algae.

The bacteria feeds off nutrients like fertilizers, runoff from roads, and even septic tanks.

If dogs swallow it, it can cause liver damage and potentially kill them within hours.

“Their liver starts to shut down as the cells start to die relatively quickly it’s a really, really nasty toxin,” Veterinarian Dr. Isabelle Ying said.

Some algae blooms looks like a green, almost slimy coating, on the waters surface. But the toxin is not always visible. According to experts, the water has to be tested to confirm the presence of the deadly toxin.

No recent blue-green algae blooms in Central Alabama have been reported.

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