Bacteria Water

Summer heat and algae can be dangerous for your pets – WUSA9

Officials claim that “blue-green alga” is not a form of algae but rather a toxic bacteria. Bloom is the rapid growth of algae.

WASHINGTON – With the arrival summer, water bodies around the world begin to be alive. Not all life on earth is welcomed. Algal Blooms are a result of warm, nutrient rich waters. They turn pristine lakes green and murky. This season’s surge in algae is more than an eyesore. It’s a sign that environmental changes are occurring with wide-reaching effects.

What causes these flowers to bloom in the heat of the summer and what does this mean for our pets

Summer is the best time for algae to grow, since sunlight is necessary for them to produce food. Algal blooms are signs of rapid growth. They occur primarily in freshwater.

According PetMD “blue-green alga” is a toxic bacterium that can be found in algae. Some blooms can be toxic to people and pets. It’s difficult to tell if an algal bloom is toxic. Therefore, you should consider all blooms as potentially harmful.

Your pet’s liver, nervous system, and skin can be damaged if they drink or swim in water containing toxic blue-green alga. Skin effects can take up to a week before they appear. The liver and nervous system are often affected by toxicities that can be fatal within hours. Skin exposure, however, usually requires treatment. Most pets survive.

Blue-green algal poisoning can cause:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Drooling
  • Skin reddening
  • Blisters on the skin
  • Muscle tremors
  • Muscle rigidity
  • Seizures
  • Inability to walk
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Weakness
  • Death

The CDC warns that pets should not do the following things in an area where a bloom is present:

  • Water is a good drink
  • Play or swim near water
  • Eating near water
  • After being in the water, lick their fur
  • Take dead fish and other animals that you find near the bloom.
  • Algae mats are good for you

To prevent your pet or livestock from licking the cyanobacteria that has been present in the water they have been in, wash them immediately with clean water.

Officials remind pet owners that the signs can be deadly and develop rapidly. They urge them to take their pets to a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Avoiding water that has visible algal blooms is the best way to protect your pet.

Lake Anna, Virginia has had a toxic algae alert since 2024.

Authorities and utilities in the D.C. metro region say that they continuously monitor for toxic algae throughout the entire season and issue alerts if necessary.

Lyn Riggins is a spokesperson for WSSC Water. She says that advisories are only issued for recreational contact with water. WSSC water drinking waters have not been affected. The last WSSC advisory was issued in 2013 for the Howard Duckett Reservoir.

DC Water issued an order to boil water on Wednesday as a precaution, after a nontoxic algae bloom threatened to overwhelm the system. The advisory was quickly retracted after engineers treated the water to eliminate the algae that was causing the water to become so cloudy, it was almost impossible to treat. The water was safe despite the precautionary warning.


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