Wags & Whiskers Veterinary Hospital

Blue-Green Algae August 23rd 2019 Dr. Liz Waguespack

There has been a lot of press lately about Blue-Green Algae toxicity in dogs. There have been cases in Austin, North Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. Unfortunately, these cases are making the news because these dogs died, which is a common outcome when animals are exposed to Blue-Green Algae. After contacting a few local specialist, I could not find any cases that were reported in Louisiana. While the recent media focus is on on Blue-Green Algae, there are other things in standing water that can cause illness and potentially death in pets. Prototheca and Pythium are two common infections that occur frequently in Louisiana from animals drinking standing water.

Blue-Green Algae is actually the common name for Cyanobacteria. It is a bacteria, but like algae uses sunlight to grow. Toxic blooms (an overabundance) happens when it is hot. These bacteria reproduce in still water, mostly ponds or lakes. Sometimes it is visible on the top of the water. It may be blue, green, or even red in color and may look like paint spilled on the water. Just because you don’t see it on the top of the water, doesn’t mean it’s not there. It can also live lower down in the middle to bottom water layers. Blue-Green Algae produces toxins that can make people, pets or livestock sick. There is no treatment for the toxin. The best prevention is to not allow pets or children to swim in scummy water. If they do, wash them off with fresh water as soon as possible. Do not allow pets to drink water where there is algae present. Signs of toxicity are neurologic signs (stumbling, seizures, tremors) or gastrointestinal signs (vomiting, drooling, not eating, etc). If you notice any of these signs, your pet should be taken to a veterinarian immediately. Check out the linke below for more information about Blue-Green Algae. Please stay safe!