Blue-green algae information

Blue-green algae are used to describe bacteria called cyanobacteria. They grow quickly and can form blue or green or brown clumps that can resemble algae. It can look like there is a blue-green scum on the surface of the water often looking a bit like pea soup, more commonly in lakes and ponds during warmer weather.

Blue-green algae can be rapidly toxic to dogs so please call your vet immediately if you think you have a case of poisoning.

  • Don’t let your dog swim in or drink water containing blue-green algae.
  • It is most common in the hotter drier months of the year.

Often warning signs are put up so please take notice of them as the toxins that some strains of the bacteria produce can be very harmful and can even cause death within 15 minutes. Dogs are affected by drinking the water or grooming the organisms from their fur later on after swimming.

What are the symptoms of blue-green algae poisoning?

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Seizures
    Weakness
  • Disorientation
  • Drooling
  • Breathing difficulties

What is the treatment for blue-green algae poisoning?

There is no antidote for the toxin but if your dog is seen quickly, it can be made to vomit and the toxins flushed from their system. Unfortunately the toxins can also cause damage to the liver that can also be fatal.

How can I protect my dog from blue-green algae?

  • Avoid lakes and ponds where you know or suspect that blue-green algae is present
  • Don’t let your dog paddle in areas with the algae blooms
  • Take note of the warning signs that are often put up around lakes and ponds

Is there a risk to human health?

Yes… but it is less serious than it is in dogs.

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Ian Stroud

Ian Stroud

Veterinary Surgeon at Vet4life
Ian Stroud is a highly experienced small animal veterinary surgeon with over 15 years working in practice. He has particular interests in several areas including minimally-invasive surgery, orthopaedics and oncology (cancer treatment). He currently practices in Teddington, Shepperton and Surbiton where he is the director of Vet4life.
Ian Stroud

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