• GekkoVet Team

Is blue-green algae toxic to dogs?





What is blue-green algae?


If you can see a blue-green layer on top of an open water source close to the shore, it is most probably caused by blooming of cyanobacteria. The reason for blooming is due to nutrient rich water and warm weather, especially during the summer months, which makes the water environment suitable for cyanobacteria to multiply.


Is blue-green algae toxic to dogs?


Yes, very toxic! Dogs and other mammals are sensitive to cyanobacteria toxins. In dogs, cyanobacterial poisoning causes damage especially to liver, kidneys, and nervous system. The severity of the poisoning is dependent on the cyanobacteria species and the amount of ingested contaminated water.


What kind of symptoms blue-algae poisoning causes?


The cyanobacterial poisoning symptoms include acute vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, lethargy, weakness, respiratory symptoms, cramps, and seizures. The nephrotoxicity (damage to the kidneys) can cause sudden death.



What can I do if my dog has ingested contaminated water?

If you notice your dog has swam in or drank water which might be contaminated by blue-green algae:

  • Wash your dog immediately with clean water! The bacteria can be ingested from the fur if the dog grooms itself.

  • Contact your local veterinarian!

Why should I take my dog to veterinarian?


As the worst-case scenario, the cyanobacterial poisoning can be lethal to your pet. It is very important to contact the closest veterinarian and visit the clinic. At the veterinary clinic the aim is to prevent the absorption of the toxins and give treatment based on the symptoms. Basic bloodwork is usually done to check if the toxins have caused damage to internal organs and to create the right treatment plan for your pet.


PetCompass


PetCompass is your pet’s own health app. If your pet gets sick, contact your nearest veterinarian through PetCompass app and get help when needed. Learn more at https://www.gekkovet.com/pet and download your own GekkoCompass at App Store or Google Play.




References:

-Backer LC, Landsberg JH, Miller M, Keel K, Taylor TK. Canine cyanotoxin poisonings in the United States (1920s-2012): review of suspected and confirmed cases from three data sources. Toxins (Basel). 2013 Sep 24;5(9):1597-628. doi: 10.3390/toxins5091597. PMID: 24064718; PMCID: PMC3798876.

-Bischoff K, Algal Poisoning of Animals, viewed 8.8.2021. https://www.msdvetmanual.com/toxicology/algal-poisoning/algal-poisoning-of-animals

-Stewart I, Seawright AA, Shaw GR. Cyanobacterial poisoning in livestock, wild mammals and birds--an overview. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2008;619:613-37. doi: 10.1007/978-0-387-75865-7_28. PMID: 18461786.