Local vet warns dog owners of deadly algae appearing on bodies of water

Local News

ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — Stories are coming out from multiple states on the East Coast, reporting that blue-green algae and discolored scum on the surface of lakes and ponds are causing dogs to have seizures and liver failure. A local veterinarian is warning dog owners about a dangerous bacteria that can kill a dog within 15 minutes.

Dr. Kayla Whitfield from Lakemont Veterinary Clinic said dog owners need to be aware of certain scum on the surface of the water that produces a neurotoxin that can take your pet’s life if ingested.

“Their snout and their mouth are water level, so even if they’re not gulping it, they’re still ingesting it,” she said.

Dr. Whitfield said she hadn’t seen a case involving this type of bacteria at her clinic, but dog owners need to check the water before letting their dogs go in.

“Just being mindful of the dog’s environment that doesn’t look quite right, so if you wouldn’t swim in it, or drink it, it’s probably not safe for your dogs,” she said.

She said signs of an intestinal parasite include vomiting and diarrhea, and if you’re dog is acting out of character, schedule a visit to your vet immediately.

“I think the scary thing is there’s not an antidote or a real treatment for this. It’s more a systematic treatment,” she said.

Dr. Whitfield added if your dog seems over exhausted, really lethargic, wobbly or drunk looking, those would be signs that you need an emergency veterinary visit.

If you are taking your dog to any local body of water, check for the scum on that surface, and if you wouldn’t go in the water, your dog shouldn’t either.

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