What You Need to Know About Algae Poisoning



When it comes to canines, water safety is incredibly important. While most pet parents may think this entails being aware of drowning risks, water can hold other potential dangers. A family in North Carolina learned this the hard way when all three of their dogs passed away last week from toxic blue-green algae. The pups had contracted algae poisoning after swimming in a local pond. 


Last Thursday evening, Melissa Martin and Denise Mintz took their three dogs Abby, Izzy and Harpo to cool off in a pond in Wilmington, N.C. Within minutes of leaving the water, Abby, a West Highland white terrier, experienced a seizure. The condition of the other two dogs began to decline as they experienced seizures as well. Despite care from a veterinarian, all three dogs passed away at midnight on Friday night.


According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, poisonous algae blooms are more likely to be found in fresh water during warm weather and when the water is stagnant. While some blooms may form muck on the water’s surface, others can be harder to see. In Martin and Mintz’s case, the blooms were hard to see and there was no signage indicating that the dangerous algae was present.  


There’s currently no cure for the poisoning and it almost always leads to death in dogs. Canines can contract the poisoning from drinking contaminated water directly or licking it off their fur. According to UK Animal Charity Blue Cross for Pets, dogs can die within 15 minutes of exposure.


Martin is now trying to push for signage that warns of the dangers of algae poisoning near bodies of water where it’s common. 


"I will not stop until I make positive change," she said to CNN. "I will not lose my dogs for nothing."


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