WARNING for Pet Parents: Dogs Die in 3 States After Swimming in Toxic Algea

WARNING for Pet Parents: Dogs Die in 3 States After Swimming in Toxic Algea

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Experts are warning pet owners about the dangers of toxic blue green algae (WFSB file photo)

EAST HAMPTON, CT (WFSB) -- There’s a warning for pet owners right now to be careful about where they let their pets swim.

Dogs in at least three states have died in the past week after swimming in water contaminated with toxic blue green algae.

The blue green algae can impact waters in Connecticut, like Lake Pocotopaug in East Hampton.

Just last month,the swimming area was shut down after the algae was detected.

In North Carolina last week, a woman named Melissa Martin and a friend brought their three dogs to swim in a pond.

Within 15 minutes of the swim, one of the dogs had a seizure.

They rushed all three dogs to an emergency animal hospital, but all three died.

"People need to know about this. Like I said, if we had any clue this was ever a thing they would have never come. I had no idea. And once we got to the emergency vet last night, they also weren't sure,” Martin said in an interview.

Officials are blaming the toxic form of blue green algae.

In Austin, Tx., officials closed a lake earlier in the week after a dog died following a swim there.

This past Saturday, another dog died after swimming in Georgia.

All of the incidents involve the toxic blue green algae.

James Tipton, a specialty intern with Pieper Veterinary Emergency and Specialty in Middletown, said pets can succumb to toxins very quickly. Noticing symptoms immediately is crucial.

“It's usually really quickly and, you know, early identification is key for these cases,” Tipton said.

Along with the seizures, other common symptoms can include vomiting or diarrhea, excessive salivating or other secretions, and muscle weakness.

Humans can experience many of the same symptoms when swimming in contaminated water, but Tipton said the symptoms will appear faster in dogs, sometimes in a matter of minutes.

“With pets they definitely react a lot quicker, but for people it's the same thing,” Tipton said.

Not all algae blooms are toxic, but Tipton said pet owners should be cautious.

“If you find yourself in a body of water, you're not exactly sure is this one of those toxic algae blooms or not, it's just best to play it safe,” Tipton said.

Some warning signs of water that's unsafe for swimming include foul orders or water that is blue, green, or brown.

Of course, if you're not sure if water is safe, Tipton says it's best not to go in.

For more information on blue green algae,click here.

Copyright 2019 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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