You may have heard of the dangerous blue green algae, as it’s been making news headlines across the country this summer. This harmful algae has been growing in lakes and ponds in our local area, too! As the temperatures soar through the summer, conditions become just right for blooms of blue green algae, which is dangerous for both humans and animals.

What is blue green algae?

Despite its name, it’s not actually algae, but rather a type of bactera called cyanobacteria. This bacteria is ever-present in bodies of water, but with warm, summer conditions just right, it can grow and multiply quickly creating a dangerous bloom.

What does it look like?

If the blooms are visible, it will look like spilled blue-ish green paint in the water. You may also notice a swampy odor. However, the algae blooms are not always large and dense enough to be visible to us. It’s important to check local news outlets and heed warnings before diving in for your next summer adventure.

What are the health effects?

Blue green algae is incredibly dangerous in a variety of ways to both humans and animals. You will notice adverse effects if you swallow, have skin contact with, or breathe in droplets of the algae. If you notice any of these effects in yourself or your pup after swimming, consult your doctor or veterinarian immediately:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Rash
  • Eye irritation
  • Sore throat
  • Cough
  • Headache

In dogs, you may also notice in addition to the above symptoms:

  • Seizures
  • Weakness
  • Difficulty breathing

Symptoms will begin within a couple hours to 2 days after exposure. For our furry friends, the effects can become deadly in a matter of hours. Unfortunately, there have been a handful of dogs who have died this summer due to exposure to blue green algae. 

Remember:

Do not come into contact with water if you’re not sure if it is safe. You cannot always see the algae, so don’t assume a body of water is safe because you don’t see any algae blooms. Local news outlets and parks will share updates and notices about affected bodies of water.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns you may have.