Dogs Across Southern U.S. Are Dying Due To Toxic Algae Exposure After Swimming In Lakes

Dogs Across Southern U.S. Are Dying Due To Toxic Algae Exposure After Swimming In Lakes

  • Dogs across the southern U.S. are dying after toxic algae exposure from swimming in lakes, ponds.
  • The lakes or ponds with toxic algae can look like foam, scum, mats, or paint floating on the surface of the water.
  • Toxic algae can make humans sick, but can be fatal for animals, killing them in just a few short hours.


In very sad news, dogs are dying across the southern portion of the U.S. due to toxic algae exposure after swimming in lakes and ponds. Two dog owners in North Carolina are dealing with the impact now after their 3 dogs died within hours of swimming in an algae-infested local pond.

Melissa Martin and Denise Mintz took their dogs to a pond in the Wilmington area just to play and swim. However, later that night, one of the dogs start acting weird, so they take her to an emergency animal hospital. The other dogs soon begin to have seizures and are showing signs of liver failure. All three eventually died just after midnight. (The Facebook post below showcases yet another case across the south of dying animals after algae exposure)


Toxic algae are lethal for animals

This morning we thought, it’s so hot! Let’s go to the lake! We took our sweet Arya to the lake and had the best day…

Posted by Morgan Fleming on Saturday, August 10, 2019

Veterinarians soon determine that it was toxins from algal blooms that killed all 3 dogs. The owners took to news outlets to tell their story, in hopes to protect other animals from the potential dangers of swimming in any lakes or ponds.

“People need to know about this,” Martin tells WECT. “Like I said, if we had any clue this was ever a thing they would have never come. I had no idea. And once we got to the emergency vet last night, they also weren’t sure.”


dog swimming in a lake
Dog swimming in lake / Rover

Additional reports of the same experience come from Texas and Georgia over the last week. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that harmful algal blooms occur when algae rapidly multiply in warm, still, nutrient-rich waters. This means it can look like foam, scum, mats, or paint floating on the surface of the water.

It also varies in color. In freshwater, algae blooms are usually of the blue-green variety. It is made up of cyanobacteria, which naturally produces toxins during their growth. This toxin can pose a large threat to both humans and animals. While humans will likely get sick from the toxins, animals can die within mere hours.

blue algae water in a pond
Blue algae water / Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

Some of the symptoms your pets might display include excessive salivation (foaming at the mouth), weakness, difficulty breathing, convulsions, loss of appetite, loss of energy, vomiting, diarrhea, tremors, and seizures. With this news, steer clear of any ponds or lakes that look discolored, has any foam, scum, or mats of algae on the surface, or that has a musty smell.

If you suspect contact with toxin-filled water, wash yourself and your pet thoroughly with fresh water. If you or your pet swallow the infected water, contact a poison control center/veterinarian immediately!

In other news, the FDA recently found that 16 brands of dog foods could link to heart disease in dogs! Get those details here.

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