Blue-green algae is not algae at allThe stuff we think of as blue-green algae is actually a kind of bacteria known as cyanobacteria.
- Blooms of cyanobacteria will often look like flecks and splotches of bright green paint floating just below the water surface. Red-blue and tan blooms may also be seen.
- Toxins from the bacteria may not be present in all areas of a bloom or may be found where the water looks clean.
- Blooms are more likely to occur in standing or slow-moving fresh water as well as in backyard ponds and sloughs.
- Hot, dry weather promotes the formation of cyanobacteria blooms.
What do I need to know to keep my dog safe?
- Keep your dog leashed around stagnant water. Stay away from water that looks slimy, foamy, or has mats of coloured algae. Supply dogs with bottled water when camping or traveling.
- Dogs are more likely than other species to ingest cyanobacteria because of their play habits. Dogs don’t need to drink directly from a bloom to become sick. Splashing about, playing ball, and fetching sticks from shore can lead to swallowing tainted water.
- Rinse your dog with fresh water after swimming or playing. We want to prevent accidental ingestion when dogs lick their paws or belly.
- Clinical signs can look like heat stroke. Vomiting, diarrhea, excessive drooling, difficulty breathing, weakness, and loss of consciousness may be seen right away or within a few days. In many cases, the effects are deadly.