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Posted on 06-29-2016

Keep Your Dogs Away From Toxic Blue-Green Algae

The summer months provide an opportunity to enjoy outdoor activities with pets. In the Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota area, the season provides a wealth of different options, but you still need to take measures to keep your pets safe in the warmer weather. At Como Park Animal Hospital, we help when a problem occurs; however, we also focus on educating pet owners to prevent health concerns when enjoying outdoor activities.Dog on a pier in Minnesota

What is Blue-Green Algae

Blue-green algae refers to a type of harmful algae growth in Minnesota lakes and ponds. Although many species of algae do not harm pets, certain forms of the algae produce a harmful toxin. Exposure to the algae, or the toxins produced by the algae, may cause negative skin reactions and health problems.

Potential Health Risks to Pets

The primary concern associated with blue-green algae to pet health is the possibility of poisoning. Since pets may drink water containing the algae during an outdoor excursion, pet owners must take measures to limit the health risks with appropriate alternatives.

When pets drink the water, they may show signs of sickness and poisoning. Within a few minutes of drinking the water, a pet may have difficulty breathing, weakness and seizures. Extended contamination from the algae-produced toxins may harm internal organs and even cause extensive damage to the liver.

Avoiding Health Risks

The easiest way to avoid the health risks associated with the toxin is preventing a pet from drinking any lake or pond water during an outdoor excursion. Provide fresh bottled water throughout the visit and keep pets out of the water. Since the toxins cause allergic reactions on the skin, a pet should not get into the water to avoid any severe reactions. 

If your pet drinks water that may be contaminated with the toxin, then contact our clinic and seek immediate treatment. The toxins start causing negative symptoms like vomiting, cramping and difficulty breathing within 15 to 20 minutes, so immediate attention helps prevent the symptoms from worsening. It also ensures that the treatment will help reduce the risk of severe measures.

The damage to the internal system raises concerns for pet owners. Since it may damage the liver, pet owners must take measures to treat a pet as quickly as possible after exposure to a blue-green algae. Even if the variation of algae is not toxic, seeking early treatment reduces the risk of severe reactions due to poisoning.

Toxic variations of algae may harm a pet, so you want to limit potential exposure by keeping pets away from ponds and lakes during an outdoor excursion. To learn more about summer pet emergencies in Minnesota, contact us today.

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