Is it safe to go in the water?
As the summer
heats up in Wisconsin, so do area rivers, ponds
and lakes. As they do, algae begins to grow. Algae
is an important source of food for wildlife in Wisconsin,
but certain types have proven toxic to dogs and
Blue-Green Algae, or Cyanobacteria, grow in areas
with high nutrient levels of phosphorous and gives
off an unpleasant odor. This type of algae gets
its name from its color. Animals, as well as humanscan
become ill after coming in contact with this type
Symptoms of illness from Blue-Green Algae may include
a skin rash, hives, runny nose, irritated eyes or
throat irritation. If ingested, Blue-Green Algae
can also cause vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, headache,
muscle and joint pain, seizures and convulsions.
In severe case, paralysis, respiratory failure or
death can occur after ingestion.
The best way to prevent exposure to Blue-Green Algae
toxins is to avoid coming in contact with standing
algae in rivers, ponds and lakes. Do not use untreated
water from these areas as drinking water for either
you or your companion animal. Boiling the water
can actually release toxins into the air, so bring
along bottled water on your excursions this summer.
Be sure to completely rinse off if you or your dog
have come in contact with algae.
If your companion animal suffers from any of the
symptoms listed above after swimming in area waterways
this summer, be sure to consult your veterinarian
immediately or contact an emergency veterinary hospital.
For more information on Blue-Green Algae, click
here to go to the Wisconsin Department of Natural