Local vets explain about the algae that is killing dogs in the south


Blue-green algae is raising concerns for pet owners.

In Wilmington, North Carolina, three dogs died after playing in a pond, while another died after a swim in Lake Allatoona, Georgia.

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A common enemy likely led to the deaths of all four dogs: liver failure brought on by ingesting water contaminated with toxic blue-green algae.

“Depends on how much they eat. So if they ingest a lot of it then it’s gonna be very quickly affected within minutes. If they eat just a little bit of it, it may be actually just up to a week later.”

Toxic algae can be found all over the United States — so dog owners throughout the nation need to be on the lookout.

“Blue-green algae, this type of bacteria was found in Tennessee. Just different strands make toxic and some don’t. So the toxic strands haven’t been found in Tennessee yet, but it definitely it’s here.”

The TDEC says its has not seen any reports of the blue-green algae in waters of the state.

“We’ve had lots of questions okay no one has actually had it happen yet. What I tell owners is again you wanna go with flowing water so avoid the standing ponds in the field. Then also just look, if it’s well planted then it’s probably safe.”

Harmful algae can bloom in both fresh and marine water. Toxic algae can also grow in decorative ponds as well as backyard pools, providing homeowners with a good reason to properly sanitize swimming water.

“It’s the scummy, gross slime, green slimy seeds that you need to be concorned about”

Toxic algae can look like foam, scum, or mats on the surface of water, said Schmale. Harmful algae blooms, which can be blue, vibrant green, brown or red, are sometimes mistaken for paint floating on the water.