Protect Your Pets From Potentially Deadly Blue-Green Algae

Lawrence, KS — August 13th, 2019 — Potentially harmful blue-green algae is popping up in lakes across Kansas, Missouri and the rest of the United States.

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.

Meanwhile, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment has issued almost two dozen Warning and Watch advisories on lakes throughout the state, including several in Northeast Kansas. Below is a list of lakes KDHE has issued advisories for:

  • Big Eleven Lake – Wyandotte County- Warning
  • Camp Hawk Lake – Harvey County – Warning
  • Carousel Lake in Gage Park – Shawnee County – Watch
  • Gathering Pond (Hatchery Supply Pond) – Geary County – Warning
  • Hiawatha City Lake – Brown County – Watch
  • Hodgeman County State Fishing Lake – Hodgeman County – Watch
  • Jerry Ivey Pond – Saline County – Warning
  • Keith Sebelius Reservoir – Norton County – Watch
  • Lake Afton – Sedgwick County – Warning
  • Lake Shawnee – Shawnee County – Watch
  • Lakewood Park Lake – Saline County – Warning
  • Lebo Kids’ Pond – Coffey County – Warning
  • Lovewell Reservoir – Jewell County – Watch
  • Marais des Cygnes Wildlife Area – Linn County – Warning
  • Marion County Lake – Marion County – Warning
  • Marion Reservoir – Marion County – Watch
  • Melvern Outlet Pond – Osage County – Warning
  • Melvern Outlet Swim Pond – Osage County – Warning
  • Neosho County State Fishing Lake – Neosho County – Warning
  • Rock Garden Pond in Gage Park – Shawnee County – Watch
  • South Lake – Johnson County – Warning
  • Westlake in Gage Park – Shawnee County – Warning

Lakes under advisories should be marked with clear signage indicating if the body of water is under a watch or a warning. In lakes under watch advisories, humans and pets should stay clear of algae blooms. Where as, both pets and their owners should stay away from lakes with active Warning advisories altogether.

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.

Recent Posts