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Dangers of Blue-Green Algae

With sunnier weather comes the increase of blue-green algae blooms appearing in bodies of still water including Linlithgow Loch and Beecraigs Loch.

Cyanobacteria (also known as blue-green algae) are microscopic bacteria found in freshwater lakes, streams, ponds and brackish water ecosystems. They can produce toxins (such as microcystins and anatoxins) that affect people, livestock and pets that swim in and drink from the algae-contaminated water.

Dogs that enjoy swimming and playing in lakes and ponds may be exposed to blue-green algae. Hunting dogs are especially predisposed due to increased exposure outdoors. Visible scums and floating mats must be avoided as these are potentially the most harmful.

Exposure may result in liver damage or failure in the most extreme cases. Signs of liver injury include vomiting, diarrhoea, blood in stool or black, tarry stool, weakness, pale mucous membranes, jaundice, seizures, disorientation, coma, and shock. Death generally follows within days as a result of liver failure. Unfortunately, there is no antidote for the toxins produced by blue-green algae. Immediate Veterinary advice should be sought if you believe your dog may have been exposed to or has digested blue-green algae.