One of the many headlines that keeps popping up recently is that there have been algal blooms that may have the potential to kill your pet. According to NOAA, there are many issues with the algae, and it may be a part of every US costal state. What that means is that the EPA is beginning to see this as an issue for the entire country. That means that you are going to need to know what they look like and how you can keep your pets safe.
What are Blue Green Algae Anyway?
These are not really algae at all, but a dangerous form of bacteria that is called cyanobacteria. Cyanobacteria is a group of microorganisms that occur naturally and make oxygen as well as help nutrients in the environment and the food chain.
Here is what you need to know to make sure that you can keep your pets safe.
What Makes Blue Green Algae Toxic to Pets?
This is a group of microorganisms that can be found in any environment of water as well as in many locations that are on land. These can occur naturally and can also help make the environment more palatable for the environment as well as for the food chain. However, the thing to keep in mind is that there are many kinds of toxins that are associated with them.
What is the Problem with Blue Green Algae? Why is it Toxic to Pets?
These have toxins in them that affect different parts of the body, there are some of these that are going to affect the brain, some of them will affect the liver and others will affect the skin. There are some that are very serious even to the point of fatality for the pet as well.
Cyanotoxins are also a huge issue and they can be bad for our pets because they can swim and are consumed from bad water sources. People on the other hand here are less likely to jump into a source of water that has blooms in it.
What Causes the Algal Blooms Anyway?
The blooms are caused by the rise in the population in a watery environment. These blooms appear in waters that are generally warm and are full of nutrients. This happens most recently at the end of the year and is caused by the warm weather.
Since 2013 there have been many signs of mounting evidence that it is possible that there has been a global climate change. That has been because of more freshwater that has been causing more and more severity as well as other issues of more blooms.
How Can I Protect My Pet from Dangerous Algal Blooms?
The best way to make sure that you can keep your pets safe is to not let them swim in any locations that may be contaminated. That is especially the case with water if it has blooms or if it smells bad. There is an EPA page that details all the information about the pets as well as the algae. It is important to make sure that you are keeping your pet safe. You can never let your pet swim in the water if:
- The color of the water is strange.
- The water looks like it is slimy or there is foam.
- If the water is smelly or makes you not want to get into it.
Why it is Important to Track Algal Blooms?
If you think that you have a water source that is contaminated, you need to make sure that you have reported it to the state’s health department. There is a list of resources online for allowing you to report everything and keep your pets from becoming exposed. What that also means is that you need to work with researchers to track the blooms and to know what Is going on with them.
You can also look at the state health department and see how they are tracking things with the state department in your area. There may be an online tracking system that is set up.
The state of Florida by example has an Environmental Protection Status tool that ensures that there is a map with different kinds of testing and allows a way for the blooms to be reported online. The EPA has a full list of these resources online for reporting all these blooms. It is important to make sure that you can prevent your pet from being exposed.
How Do I Know If My Pet Has Been Exposed?
There are some symptoms which are very clear and depends on the way that your pet was exposed. Here is what you need to know.
Hepatotoxin Producing Cyanobacteria
Symptoms Can Include the Following
- Issues with diarrhea
- Blood in the stool.
- Pale mucous membranes
Neurotoxin Producing Cyanobacteria
Other symptoms with this bacterium can include.
- Muscle spasms and issues
- Difficulty breathing
- Heart failure
Being exposed to HABS can lead to death. What is important to note is that hepatotoxins are more slowly and for that reason they can respond better to treatment of all kinds. When it comes to neurotoxins, the opposite is the case. There are many dogs that cannot get to the vet fast enough to be saved.
What Can I Do If My Pet Has Been Exposed?
If you think that your pet has been exposed, you need to wash the blooms and the water off right away. If your pet may have consumed the water, you need to get your pet to the vet as soon as possible as well. There is no antidote now for the toxins that are out there.
If your pet is not neurologically impaired, there may be a chance for the vet to induce vomiting and by doing so save your pet. This can be done with charcoal or another means to make sure that your dog is not sicker.
There is a need for subsequent care and that means that it depends on the kinds of cytotoxin that your pet has consumed to know the severity of the situation. With the appropriate treatment your pet may be ok. It is important to know if your pet can be saved.