Protect Your Pets From Potentially Deadly Blue-Green Algae

Lawrence, KS — October 4th, 2019 — The City of Lawrence is reporting blooms of potentially harmful algae have been found in stormwater drainage creek near Deerfield, Woodcreek Townhome and Northwinds Apartments.

The algal bloom was discovered in the water-body and drainage creek near Princeton Boulevard between North Crestline Drive and Yorkshire Drive, traveling north and east past N. Michigan Street to the Kansas River at Burcham Park.

The Lawrence Humane Society first alerted pet owners of the dangers of blue-green algae blooms popping up in Kansas and Missouri lakes back in mid August. Now the blooms have made their way to Lawrence.

From our earlier report: These algae blooms can be dangerous and even lethal for pets. In fact, it has been national news that a North Carolina family is mourning the loss of three of their beloved dogs who swam in a pond contaminated with blue-green algae.

Lawrence Humane Society Chief Veterinarian, Dr. Luke Pickett says many well meaning pet owners are unaware of this danger.

“Blue-green algae toxicity is a lesser common toxicity and you will often not find it on common dog toxicity lists,” Dr. Pickett said. “The growth of these algae blooms is seasonal, usually developing in hot humid weather conditions, and is most common when flooding has been noted in an area. Not all algae is toxic, but owners should be made aware of the possibility of toxicity.”

The ASPCA has issued some helpful hint for identifying blue-green algae conditions:

  • The problem is most likely to occur in bodies of fresh water when the weather has been warm (over 75 degrees F) and sunny;
  • Blue-green algae is most likely to be found in areas where recent flooding has occurred;
  • Water containing toxic algal blooms will often have the appearance of a pea-green paint or slime on the surface;
  • If certain wind conditions are present the film will often concentrate along the shoreline in areas where animals may drink or swim.

According to Dr. Pickett, clinical symptoms of Blue-green algae toxicity usually occur rapidly, about 15-30 minutes after ingestion.  Typical symptoms of toxicity include:

  • Vomiting;
  • Seizures;
  • Salivation;
  • Lethargy;
  • Diarrhea.

Dr. Pickett advises the sooner symptoms are noticed and treatment can be initiated, the better the survival rates.  As always, if your pet shows any signs of illness or unusual behavior, consult with your personal veterinarian as soon as possible.

And the ASPCA suggests washing your pets with fresh water immediately if you suspect they’ve come in contact with blue-green algae, and again promptly rushing them to your personal veterinarian.

Please share this information with any animal lovers you know, as it could potentially be live-saving information for pets in our community.

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