Blue-green (Cyanobacteria) Algae Poisoning in Dogs

We all think it is fun to take our dogs to the lake or the pond and throw a few sticks. Dogs love water and love to chase sticks while going for a swim. But new information may make you think twice before playing fetch with your dog in the water. You can learn the risks of this poisoning by monitoring the water and the temperature. Extremely high temperatures for an extended period of time can cause the algae that this bacteria lives in to become more wide spread. Blue green algae poisoning, also known as Cyanobacteria poisoning is a serious issue for dogs and contaminated water is the only way for them to come into contact with this bacteria.

Cyanobacteria are a neurotoxin that causes rapid illness and death in an animal.

How Do Dogs Become Infected

Dogs can become infected on hot, sunny days from any water that contains the Cyanobacteria in algae contaminated water. Dogs enjoy drinking the water from algae infected pools, ponds, rivers, and lakes and is typically ingest the water by fetching or swimming since they swallow water that gets into their mouths. The important portion to remember is that it can affect any animal and any human. It is very important to note that animals typically have a worse response and do not live more than a few hours after contamination.

What Cyanobacteria Infected Areas Look Like

The only way to determine on the spot whether the water could be affected by this bacterium is by visual examination. Typically, the blooms of this bacteria look like foam, scum or mats and look like a gelatinous mass floating in the water. It can range from blue, bright green, brown, red, blue green or greenish brown. The water may also have a foul smell. It is very important to remember that the blooms of this bacteria do not always make the water look different than it naturally would.

There are several bacteria that can cause this infection in fresh water. They are Microcystis aeruginosa, Anabaena circinalis, Anabaena flos-aquae, Aphanizomenon flos-aquae, Cylindrospermopsis raciborskii. All of these bacteria are deadly to your animal and can cause quick death.

Symptoms Of Cyanobacteria Poisoning in Dogs

Symptoms of Cyanobacteria poisoning in dogs can be very terrifying to their owners, and rightfully so. The symptoms include:

Loss of appetite





Foaming at the mouth



Liver Failure

Kidney Failure

Vomiting brownish bile

Brown bile in feces

What to Do If You Believe Your Dog Has Ingested This Bacteria

If you believe your dog has ingested any water with this bacteria in it, or he/she is showing any signs of infection by this bacteria. Do not hesitate, drop what you are doing and get them to a vet immediately! Currently, there is no antidote for blue green algae poisoning, but the vet can manage symptoms and begin to flush the bacteria out of your dog’s system. This infection can take over an animal’s body very rapidly and can cause death within a short period of time. If your dog has any of this toxin in their system, they will begin to show symptoms at the site of the water or shortly after leaving the site of the water.

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