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The Dangers of Blue-Green Algae: Pet Safety Tips

The Dangers of Blue-Green Algae: Pet Safety Tips from Your Summerfield Veterinarian

A swim is a great way for dogs to cool off and get needed exercise in the warm weather; however, not all water is safe for your pet. Blue-green algae is a bacteria that grows most often in warm ponds, lakes and anywhere water is stagnant – potentially in your own backyard. After exposure, dogs, as well as cats, birds, livestock, and wildlife can become seriously ill within a matter of minutes. This spring and summer, protect your best furry friend from the dangers of blue-green algae with these pet safety tips from your Summerfield veterinarian, The Animal Hospital at Lake Brandt.

The Dangers of Blue-Green Algae: Pet Safety Tips from Your Summerfield Veterinarian

Blue-Green Algae Pet Safety Tips

A simple drink of water can cause serious illness in pets. Dogs are especially at risk as they may gulp while playing or hunting. Practice caution with these blue-green algae pet safety tips. If you see water that resembles pea soup – with or without odor – don't let your pet near it. If you have water on your property, add fencing to block access. Keep birdbaths, fountains and pools supplied with clean, fresh water.

Symptoms of Blue-Green Algae Illness in Dogs

Because there are two types of the bacteria, there is a wide-range of symptoms of blue-green algae illness in dogs. Microcystins attack the liver while anatoxins harm the nervous system. Both can result in coma or death.

Microcystins Symptoms 

  • Weakness
  • Decreased appetite
  • Vomiting or diarrhea
  • Bleeding
  • Pale or jaundiced gums
  • Seizures
  • Shock
  • Collapse

Anatoxins Symptoms 

  • Weakness
  • Excessive salivation or tearing
  • Trouble breathing
  • Blue tinted skin and mucous membranes
  • Tremors or seizures
  • Stiff muscles or paralysis

Get Emergency Treatment at Our Summerfield Veterinarian

If your pet has been exposed to blue-green algae, seek emergency treatment at our Summerfield veterinarian. If no symptoms are present, we will induce vomiting. Otherwise, emergency care may include fluids, medications, transfusions and oxygen therapy. We are here to help. Call us for appointments or advice at (336) 643-2229. The Pet Poison Helpline can also assist in an emergency at (855) 764-7661.


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  • "I have been taking my 16 year old lab, Oscar, to this vet since he came to me in 2004, and I wouldn't take any of my dogs anywhere else! They are so wonderful with both pets and people. I would recommend any of the doctors and staff to anyone."
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  • "We have been going to another vet for years. We wanted to have our year old Wheaten Terrier, Rylee spayed by laparoscopy so she would have less pain and be back to her usual activity in 2-3 days instead of 10-14 days. Our vet does the traditional spay. We had a consult meet and greet with Dr. Courtney Pierce. She answered all our questions and so friendly and professional. They have a state of the art OR suite. Rylee did great. On post op day three she spotted a squirrel and did an all out chase with no ill effects! All the staff were great."
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  • "I love Dr. Jernigan at AHLB and would never take my dog anywhere else! The staff is excellent with animals and always professional, courteous and respectful to owners. I have trusted this animal hospital for all of my dog's care, including check ups, surgeries (she's had three!) and for boarding when we have to go out of town. Every experience I have had here has been wonderful and I highly recommend their services to anyone looking for a veterinary office for their furry children!."
    Avery C