Blue-green algae blooms are toxic to dogs
We are seeing more and more blue-green algae blooms in Oregon, and they are occurring earlier seemingly every year. The algae, and water contaminated by it, can be fatal to your pets if ingested.
Blue-green algae blooms form in the summer months in warm, nutrient-rich water. This kind of algae prefers stagnant water, so rivers and moving waterways are less likely to be a problem. However, I've seen a case where a dog was drinking from a river downstream of a reservoir that was being drained partially due to an algal bloom. Be on the lookout for public health advisory postings at public lakes and rivers.
The two general types of toxins, depending on the species of algae, are neurotoxins and hepatotoxins. Neurotoxins lead to drunken gait and seizures. While mild signs can be reversible, if severe seizures develop they are often irreversible and fatal.
Hepatotoxins cause severe liver failure and death of liver cells, leading to clotting abnormalities, vomiting and diarrhea, and possible edema. These signs are life threatening, but some animals can be saved with intensive care, antibiotics, fluids and other treatments. Even with the best care, not all patients will be able to survive.
The best treatment is prevention. Don't let your dog drink from or swim in potentially contaminated water sources. If you see large mats of algae at the surface, it's best to stay out of the water.
Talk to your vet about ways to keep your pet protected.
Emergency Veterinary Clinic of Tualatin
8250 SW Tonka St
Tualatin, OR 97052