|St. Bernard dog on the shore of Lac La Loche. This dog died after drinking water from the lake.|
Last month a friend of mine lost two of his dogs. Both died near the same time. They died from drinking the water from Lac La Loche he said. In the late 1970's he had lost another dog in the same manner.
I began to take notice of other reports mentioning algae. Algae had been present on the shore when the dogs drank from the lake. I found the following information.
The following Youtube videos one from Saskatchewan and one from Wisconsin show information on blue-green algae.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Summer Perils: Blue-green Algae
Summertime brings with it a number of health hazards for dogs. Among them is the danger of poisoning from blue-green algae.
Blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, is common in stale or stagnant water and is often found in ponds, lakes, reservoirs and other bodies of standing water. Waters affected by blue-green algal blooms are
usually of poor water quality. These waters contain large amounts of organic matter and minerals that support plant growth, especially of the algal variety. Algal blooms are most common in hot, humid weather. Often, the algal bloom will be most profuse on the windward side of the lake, pond or reservoir.
Dogs become poisoned with the toxins found in blue-green algae when they swim or drink from waters where a bloom has occurred. Blue-green algae contain several toxins, two of which are hepatotoxins (a toxin affecting the liver) and one which is a neurotoxin (a toxin affecting the central nervous system).
The two hepatoxins are known as microcystins and nodularins. These are produced by specific species of blue-green algae, *Microcystis* and *Nodularia. * Other species of blue-green algae, most notably *Anabaena*, *Aphanizomenon * and *Oscillatoria, * produce the neurotoxin, which is specified as anatoxin-a or anatoxin-as.
Symptoms in affected dogs depend on the specific type of blue-green algae present in the water and the type of toxin the algae produces. Symptoms commonly seen with the hepatotoxins include:
- abnormal coloration of the skin and gums
- death resulting from liver failure
- muscle rigidity
- respiratory paralysis
The onset of clinical signs is generally fairly quick, usually within a few minutes to a few hours of ingestion. Treatment is symptomatic, aimed at treating the individual clinical signs and providing supportive care. The
outcome is often fatal. There is no specific antidote available for any of these toxins.