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Blue Green Algae Toxicity In Dogs


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Dear Ones,

This important message just came to me from a fellow pet loss counselor in Canada:

Hi everyone

You know I don't send alot of forwards but this is important. If this

does not apply to you-----PLEASE forward it on to someone that you

know,that it might apply to.

It is with a very heavy heart that I write this and I apologize for

its length. Please, PLEASE pass this around.

On Monday, June 25, 2007 I took my healthy 9 month old Border Collie

Vita swimming at approximately 6:30 p.m. Vita and two other BC‘s spent

about an hour and a half diving off the dock, chasing the Water Kong,

and running around.

The temperature that day was just over 90 degrees, but none of the

dogs looked particularly winded or hot.

Vita emerged from the water and looked as if she was going to vomit.

She threw up lake water three times. I wasn’t particularly concerned

as she took in a lot of water from retrieving and swimming so much and

had seen other dogs do that in the past without complications.

After the third time throwing up, she lay down and closed her eyes.

Her tongue was hanging out of her mouth and I began to suspect she may

have heat stroke. I immediately placed ice on her stomach and checked

her gums. They were pink. I took her temperature which was 101.9,

still normal. I then called my Vet who said these conditions did not

indicate heat stroke and said I needed to get emergency medical

attention right away.

Vita was not responsive and when I picked her up to put her i n the

car she was limp and her eyes were still closed. Her breathing was

slow and her heart was racing. I arrived at the emergency clinic only

a half hour from the time she showed signs of distress. The ER Vet

asked me what sorts of things Vita had been doing all day. I explained

that she was crated as I was gone for the latter part of the afternoon

and that upon coming home, the only other place she went was to the


Vita’s eyes were fixed and dilated and the Vet suggested there was

already brain damage. After administering an IV and oxygen, the Vet

called me in and said Vita was not responding and that it appeared

that she was suffering from some kind of toxic poisoning. Her heart

rate was 200. He mentioned that he had recently seen a couple of dogs

who died from Blue Green Algae Toxicity. I told him that the lake had

what appear ed to be algae blooms on the surface of the water. Neither

of the other two dogs showed any of the signs that Vita had and that

neither dog took in as much water as Vita apparently did. We decided

to put her on a ventilator overnight and give her a "chance" to pull


When I got home I did a Dogpile.com search of "Blue Green Algae

Toxicity in Dogs" and found some very disturbing information.

-Blooms can occur at any time, but most often occur in late summer or

early fall. They can occur in marine, estuarine, and fresh waters, but

the blooms of greatest concern are the ones that occur in fresh water,

such as drinking water reservoirs or recreational waters.

-Some cyanobacterial blooms can look like foam, scum, or mats on the

surface of fresh water lakes and ponds. The blooms can be blue, bright

green, brown, or red and may look like paint floating on the water.

Some blooms may not affect the appearance of the water. As algae in a

cyanobacterial bloom die, the water may smell bad.

-Some cyanobacteria that can form CyanoHABs (Harmful Algal Blooms)

produce toxins that are among the most powerful natural poisons known.

These toxins have no known antidotes.

-Swallowing water that has cyanobacterial toxins in it can cause

acute, severe gastroenteritis (including diarrhea and vomiting).

-Liver toxicity (i.e., increased serum levels of liver enzymes).

Symptoms of liver poisoning may takes hours or days to show up in

people or animals.

Symptoms include abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting.

-Kidney toxicity.

-Neurotoxicity. These symptoms can appear within 15 to 20 minutes

after exposure. In dogs, the neurotoxins can cause salivation and

other neurologic symptoms, including weakness, staggering, difficulty

breathing, convulsions, and death. People may have numb lips, tingling

fingers and toes, or they may feel dizzy.

Vita had indeed exhibited salivation and signs of weakness,

staggering, difficulty breathing and vomiting.

At 7:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 26, 2007 I called the Vet and was told

that they took Vita off the ventilator a couple of times during the

night and that she was not breathing on her own. I told him to

discontinue the procedure and to let her go.

I called the DNR here in Michigan and was told that Blue Green Algae

didn’t usually appear this time of year and I told the agent that the

conditions were that of late summer in Michigan, very hot for the last

two days and reminded him that Blue Green Algae can appear at any

time. He told me not to panic or to alarm other people. I told him

that had someone else panicked, we wouldn't be having this

conversation right now.

Later that morning I found out from a neighbor that her two young boys

had vomiting, diarrhea and stomach cramps last week and her Doctor

suggested she bring in a water sample. I do not know if she did or


I also talked to a woman from a neighboring county whose neighbor’s

dog ingested a lot of water from a pond and died suddenly a couple

weeks ago.

As of this writing, Wednesday, June 27th, I have not heard anything

from Michigan State where I took Vita for a necropsy and toxoligical


For the time being, I would strongly suggest you watch your dogs when

swimming in small lakes and ponds as the potential threat of toxic

poisoning from Blue Green Algae is prevalent. Had I known that algae

of any kind was toxic, you can be sure my dogs wouldn’t be swimming

anywhere and that Vita, whose name quite ironically meant "life" in

Latin, would be alive today.

Missing you more than you can imagine.

May you rest in peace, Red Top Vita

09/05/06 - 06/26/07

Bob Tatus

5997 Mabley Hill Road

Fenton, Michigan 48430


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