It’s summer time which means paddling in pools, rivers, ponds, and streams especially in the Tennessee Valley. Here, outdoor activities such as river rafting and hiking comprise a large part of our summer. Although this sunshine is made for swimming, it’s essential to keep our pets safe when they cross ponds, rivers, and streams.
Cyanobacteria, known as blue-green algae, lurks on top of rivers, ponds, and other naturally created water sources. Blue-green algae produces toxins called microcystins and anatoxins. These toxins are life threatening if ingested or encountered. According to DOGWatch, it only takes a small amount to poison your pup.
Help! What Can I Do To Protect My Pup?
- Be aware that blue-green algae can be white, red, brown, or foamy. Before traveling, check with Tennessee’s Environment and Conservation. Also, check the list of harmful waters where human contact is not advised.
- TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE. If your dog gets into the water, immediately wash him or her off with fresh, clean water and soap. Take your pup to the veterinarian immediately if you suspect he or she ingested algae.
- Outside signs of algae contact include hives or skin rashes. Indigestive symptoms include vomiting or diarrhea. Severe and life-threatening symptoms include drool and tremors, and lack of oxygenation which results in blue gums. Never wait for life threatening symptoms.
- You may want to keep your dog on a leash especially if you doubt the water condition.
Remember to enjoy summer swims, but minimize risk for your loved one.