Vets concerned by toxic algae blooms

Vets concerned by toxic algae blooms

Vets have urged dog owners to be extra careful when walking their pets near rivers or lakes this summer as the hot weather has prompted concerns about an increase in toxic blue-green algae.

Blue green algae, or cyanobacteria, are a group of bacteria that can contain dangerous toxins which can be harmful and potentially fatal to pets, livestock and birds if ingested

Symptoms commonly include vomiting, diarrhoea, trouble breathing, seizures, and blood in faeces and if left untreated it can cause liver damage and death.

British Veterinary Association Senior Vice President Daniella Dos Santos, below, said: “It’s been a warm start to the summer and we have started hearing of increasing numbers of blue-green algae sightings across the UK.

‘Better to be safe’

“While a paddle in a cool lake may be your dog’s favourite outdoor activity at this time of the year, we’d urge pet owners to keep them on a lead during walks near water bodies confirmed to have algal blooms. The majority of blooms are toxic and it is impossible to tell the difference visually, so it is better to be safe than sorry.

“There is currently no known antidote for the toxins, so prompt veterinary treatment is the only way to tackle their effects and ensure a good chance of recovery for your pet. If you suspect your dog has been exposed to blue-green algae, please seek emergency veterinary treatment as soon as possible.”

Algal blooms reported so far this year include several locations in the Central Belt of Scotland, as well as in Derbyshire, the Midlands, Essex and the Brecon Beacons.

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