blue-green algae

Blue-Green Algae Warning

Here is some important information from the KARE 11 Website.  

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) confirmed Monday that it was blue-green algae toxins that resulted in the death of a Douglas County dog last week. The death was reported to Douglas County Sheriff's deputies last Thursday.

Steven Heiskary, a research scientist at the MPCA, confirmed that the toxins killed the canine. In 2014, the MPCA received reports of three dog deaths due to blue-green algae toxins. One of the toxins attacks the liver while the other attacks the brain.

"The danger here is that both of these toxins are very dangerous," said Dr. Ahna Brutlag, Associate Director of Veterinary Services at Pet Poison Hot Line. "So, it does not take an ingestion of very much water with blue-green algae in it to potentially be fatal to an animal or certainly to cause very significant sickness."

"Blue-green blooms are common in Minnesota," said Heiskary. "We cannot predict exactly which ones are toxic and which ones are not. As for the actual dog deaths, these are not real common."

Both Brutlag and Heiskary said the best way for owners to prevent danger from the toxins to their pets is to keep them out of water with blue-green algae. Typically, the water takes on a pea-soup green color and is no longer clear.

"Keep the pets out. Keep the kids out, just under those kinds of conditions," said Heiskary.

Brutlag pointed out that time is critical when a dog becomes ill after drinking or swimming in water with the algae. Pet owners can contact the Pet Poison Helpline at www.petpoisonhelpline.com or 1-800-213-6680 or rush the pet to a veterinary clinic immediately, day or night.

Blue-Green Algae Warning

blue-green algae dog warning in Minneapolis, MNWith this extended stretch of warm weather, Blue-Green Algae has started to show up in Minnesota lakes earlier than normal.  The algae gathers on the surface of the water and is known to kill dogs if they drink enough of it. It can also cause rashes and respiratory problems for people. We found list of FAQ's about Blue-Green Algae.  When in doubt, it is safest to keep your dog out of the lakes.  We take Roxy to the Minnehaha dog park so she can walk in the river (which we feel is safer because the water flows more).  

What is Blue Green Algae? Blue Green Algae is the common name for Cyanobacteria. Most types of algae are not a problem.  Blue Green Algae, however, is very toxic.

What does Blue Green Algae look like?  Blue green algae does not float ON the water, it is distributed WITHIN the water.  The algae that floats on top is typically duckweed, which is not toxic.  Blue Green Algae laden water is not clear and generally takes on a deep dark green color.  Usually Blue Green Algae is found in the shallow bay of lakes, slews or ponds.

When is Blue Green Algae a problem?  

Blue Green Algae doesn’t always release it’s toxin.  The environmental temperature has to be right for this to happen.  In Minnesota, cyanobacteria toxins typically occur in July and August when water temperatures rise to 85 degrees and runoff fertilizer byproducts of nitrogen and phosphorous are present.

How does Blue Green Algae cause illness?  Animals (and people) can get sick from Blue Green Algae by drinking or swimming in the water.  The Algae releases a toxin into the water, and when ingested, the toxin can cause liver failure.

What are signs of Blue Green Algae toxicity?   Symptoms  include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, seizures, respiratory distress and death.  Signs can occur within hours to days. What is the treatment for Blue Green Algae toxicity?  There is no specific treatment for Blue Green Algae toxicity.  Pets are treated with supportive care, typically IV fluids.  If you suspect that your pet has been exposed to Blue Green Algae, wear rubber gloves and bathe your pet immediatley.  Then bring your pet to the nearest Veterinarian.

How can I prevent Blue Green Algae Toxicity?  First, don’t let your pet drink or swim in water that is not clear.  Tests are available through the University of Minnesota Veterinary School Toxicology Unit that can test the water for presence of Blue Green Algae toxins.

Is it safe to give my pet Blue Green Algae herbal supplements?   No, you should not give your pet Blue Green Algae tablets.  A 2006 case at the University of Minnesota Veterinary School involved a sick cat with severely elevated liver enzymes after ingesting these tablets. The tablets that were given to the cat were analyzed and confirmed to contain blue green algae toxin.