Blue-green algae: a killer for pets

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blue-green algae pets

Lort Smith vets are warning Victorians taking their pets on holiday to watch for fatally poisonous blue-green algae. 

Buddy, a kelpie cross blue heeler, and Logan an Australian cattle dog cross fawn Dalmatian, arrived at Lort Smith Animal Hospital’s accident and emergency a little over a week ago after entering a pond during a supervised walk on their home property. 

“I was so scared. Both Logan and Buddy went from leaping around to stumbling, unable to walk properly in what felt like seconds,” carer Lisa Westphal said. 

“By the time we reached Lort Smith, their back legs had completely collapsed. They both had to be carried in.”

Blue-green algae is a microscopic bacteria found in ponds, freshwater lakes, and other salty water ecosystems. The toxins produced can be poisonous to people, livestock and pets that swim or drink from the contaminated water. 

Visually, affected water can appear blue-green in colour. It might also look a little like green soup. 

It is difficult to determine which blue-green algae is toxic. Lort Smith vets recommends treating all blue-green algae as potentially poisonous. It only takes a little exposure for it to produce fatal results if not treated immediately. 

“It’s really important to get your pet to a vet immediately” Lort Smith’s head vet Dr Leanne Pinfold said.

“There is no antidote for blue-green algae poisoning, so immediate treatment to remove the toxins is essential. If left untreated it can be fatal within 24 hours.”

Victoria Emergency has issued a warning for blue-green algae in several areas throughout the state. Up-to-date information is available at: emergency.vic.gov.au

Postscript: both Buddy and Logan have made a full recovery.

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