Dog owners warned of toxic 'mashed potato' blue-green algae that can kill in just 24 hours

Dog owners are being warned of the dangers about a toxic ‘mashed potato’ algae that can kill dogs in as little as 24 hours.
Dog walkers on the promenade Seaton Carew, Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REIDDog walkers on the promenade Seaton Carew, Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID
Dog walkers on the promenade Seaton Carew, Hartlepool. Picture by FRANK REID

Experts Kennel Store have advised dog owners on how to keep dogs safe and highlight the possible dangers of blue-green algae which has been discovered around the UK.

There have not been any reports in Hartlepool, but here is some important information of what to be aware of when out walking your pet.

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A Kennel Store spokesperson said: “Dogs love cooling down in bodies of water like rivers and lakes, particularly on hotter days.

"But it can be hazardous for our dogs to go swimming in waters when bacteria such as blue-green algae is around.”

What is blue-green algae?

Blue-green algae is a term which describes a group of bacteria, called cyanobacteria.

It can be hard to see blue-green algae unless it has collected together, therefore it can pose a risk to dogs.

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When you do see large patches of blue green algae, it’s common to see green flakes, brown dots and greenish bundles.

It can often resemble foam or mashed potato and can be found at the edge of lakes, lochs or ponds.

Do not let your dog drink from water containing deceased animals.

What are the risks and why is it dangerous?

Patches of blue-green algae contain extremely harmful toxins which stop a dogs liver from functioning correctly.

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Although not every type of blue-green algae is dangerous, it’s important to be cautious when walking near bodies of water to prevent your dog from becoming unwell.

Exposure to blue-green algae is often fatal, and for dogs that do survive they can be left with long lasting health problems.

Some types of blue-green algae can have fatal effects quickly and can kill a dog in as little as 15 minutes to an hour after drinking contaminated waters.

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Signs and symptoms of blue-green algae poisoning to watch out for

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If your dog has been swimming or paddling in water and they start to show any of the following signs, contact your vet immediately and tell them you are concerned about blue-green algae:

  • Seizures/fitting
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Weakness
  • Collapsing
  • Unconsciousness
  • Confused or disoriented
  • Dribbling

If caught early enough, your vet will attempt to make your dog vomit in an attempt to flush the toxins out of the body.

There is no antidote, but if medical intervention occurs early this gives your dog the best chance at surviving.

Sadly, blue-green algae poisoning often eventually causes fatal liver failure, so it is important owners are vigilant.

How you can protect your dog

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Keep your dog away from bodies of water that you suspect to contain blue-green algae.

Do not allow your dog to swim or paddle in waters that contain blue-green algae

Don’t let your dog drink water that could contain blue-green algae. Wind often blows blue-green algae to the edges of ponds and lakes and higher concentrations of toxin can reside here, where your dog is more likely to drink.

If you are worried about your dog and they begin exhibiting signs of blue-green algae poisoning, contact your vet immediately.

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