FW: AlgaeToxicity in Dogs
July 4, 2007
It is with a very heavy heart that I write this and I apologize
for its length. Please, PLEASE
pass this around.
On Monday, June 25, 2007 I took my healthy 9 month old Border
Collie Vita swimming at
approximately 6:30 p.m. Vita and two other BC's spent about an
hour and a half diving off
the dock, chasing the Water Kong, and running around.
The temperature that day was just over 90 degrees, but none of
the dogs looked
particularly winded or hot.
Vita emerged from the water and looked as if she was going to
vomit. She threw up lake
water three times. I wasn't particularly concerned as she took
in a lot of water from
retrieving and swimming so much and had seen other dogs do that
in the past without
After the third time throwing up, she lay down and closed her
eyes. Her tongue was
hanging out of her mouth and I began to suspect she may have heat
stroke. I immediately
placed ice on her stomach and checked her gums. They were pink. I
took her temperature
which was 101.9, still normal. I then called my Vet who said
these conditions did not
indicate heat stroke and said I needed to get emergency medical
attention right away.
Vita was not responsive and when I picked her up to put her in
the car she was limp and
her eyes were still closed. Her breathing was slow and her heart
was racing. I arrived at the
emergency clinic only a half hour from the time she showed signs
of distress. The ER Vet
asked me what sorts of things Vita had been doing all day. I
explained that she was crated
as I was gone for the latter part of the afternoon and that upon
coming home, the only
other place she went was to the lake.
Vita's eyes were fixed and dilated and the Vet suggested there
was already brain damage.
After administering an IV and oxygen, the Vet called me in and
said Vita was not
responding and that it appeared that she was suffering from some
kind of toxic poisoning.
Her heart rate was 200. He mentioned that he had recently seen a
couple of dogs who died
from Blue Green Algae Toxicity. I told him that the lake had what
appeared to be algae
blooms on the surface of the water. Neither of the other two dogs
showed any of the signs
that Vita had and that neither dog took in as much water as Vita
apparently did. We
decided to put her on a ventilator overnight and give her a
"chance" to pull through.
When I got home I did a www.dogpile.com <http://www.dogpile.com/>
search of "Blue Green Algae Toxicity in Dogs" and found some very
-Blooms can occur at any time, but most often occur in late
summer or early fall. They can
occur in marine, estuarine, and fresh waters,but the blooms of
greatest concern are the
ones that occur in fresh water, such as drinking water reservoirs
or recreational waters.
-Some cyanobacterial blooms can look like foam, scum, or mats on
the surface of fresh
water lakes and ponds. The blooms can be blue, bright green,
brown, or red and may look
like paint floating on the water. Some blooms may not affect the
appearance of the water.
As algae in a cyanobacterial bloom die, the water may smell bad.
-Some cyanobacteria that can form CyanoHABs (Harmful Algal
Blooms) produce toxins
that are among the most powerful natural poisons known. These
toxins have no known
-Swallowing water that has cyanobacterial toxins in it can cause
gastroenteritis (including diarrhea and vomiting).
-Liver toxicity (i.e., increased serum levels of liver enzymes).
Symptoms of liver poisoning
may takes hours or days to show up in people or animals. Symptoms
pain, diarrhea, and vomiting.
-Neurotoxicity. These symptoms can appear within 15 to 20 minutes
after exposure. In
dogs, the neurotoxins can cause salivation and other neurologic
weakness, staggering, difficulty breathing, convulsions, and
death. People may have numb
lips, tingling fingers and toes, or they may feel dizzy.
Vita had indeed exhibited salivation and signs of weakness,
breathing and vomiting.
At 7:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 26, 2007 I called the Vet and was
told that they took Vita
off the ventilator a couple of times during the night and that
she was not breathing on her
own. I told him to discontinue the procedure and to let her go.
I called the DNR here in Michiganand was told that Blue Green
Algae didn't usually appear
this time of year and I told the agent that the conditions were
that of late summer in
Michigan,very hot for the last two days and reminded him that
Blue Green Algae can
appear at any time. He told me not to panic or to alarm other
people. I told him that had
someone else panicked, we wouldn't be having this conversation
Later that morning I found out from a neighbor that her two young
boys had vomiting,
diarrhea and stomach cramps last week and her Doctor suggested
she bring in a water
sample. I do not know if she did or not.
I also talked to a woman from a neighboring county whose
neighbor's dog ingested a lot
of water from a pond and died suddenly a couple weeks ago.
As of this writing, Wednesday, June 27th, I have not heard
anything from Michigan State
where I took Vita for a necropsy and toxoligical panel.
For the time being, I would strongly suggest you watch your dogs
when swimming in small
lakes and ponds as the potential threat of toxic poisoning from
Blue Green Algae is
prevalent. Had I known that algae of any kind was toxic, you can
be sure my dogs wouldn't
be swimming anywhere and that Vita, whose name quite ironically
meant "life" in Latin,
would be alive today.
Missing you more than you can imagine.
May you rest in peace, Red Top Vita
09/05/06 - 06/26/07
Address & Phone withheld, if needed, contact me (DogAdvocat)