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Pet Owners: Be aware of Blue Green Algae

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BREAKING NEWS — Though they are quick to stress that no known instances exist in local bodies of water, a local vet warns of the dangers of blue-green algae for pet.

In August, Melissa Martin of Wilmington, North Carolina started her day like any other by taking her dogs, Harpo, Abby, and Izzy, to swim at a local watering hole. Hours later all three were deathly ill and clinging to life. Though she rushed the animals to a local vet, it was too late. All three died from exposure to the toxic bacteria.

The blue-green algae blooms produce harmful toxins, which stop a dog’s live function but officials at Blue Cross for Pets warn that it’s often not visible to the naked eye. Dogs can be exposed by swimming in it, drinking it, or even playing nearby.

Local vet Dr. Bryant Morton warned on the Lynchburg Veterinary Hospital Facebook page for pet owners to be very wary of letting animals play near any body of water that has a blue-green tint to it.

“This is the algae that shut down some Gulf Coast beaches in July. It can cause respiratory distress, seizures, liver failure and GI issues,” Dr. Morton stated on the LVH page.

According to the state UT Extension office, blue-green algae happens when ponds and lakes become overgrown with algae. It can sometimes have a foul taste and odor. Large quantities become what is known as a harmful algal bloom(HAB), which can be toxic to aquatic animals, pets, and livestock. For more information about HAB, click here.

Lynchburg Times will continue to monitor the situation and will update here if we receive verified reports that the algae has moved into Tennessee. •

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