How to spot the toxic algae that’s killing dogs in the Southeast

Three dogs died from toxic algae after swimming. Now their devastated owner is warning fellow dog lovers all over the country

Melissa Martin and Denise Mintz said they took their beloved pups - Abby, Izzy, and Harpo - to the body of water in Wilmington, N.C. Thursday evening, where the pets chased a ball and rolled around in the mud, before cooling off with a dip.

Their three dogs - Abby, Izzy, and Harpo - had to be put down after swimming in a pond in Wilmington.

Veterans Park Lagoon is the only body of water in the city of Milwaukee that's being tested for blue-green algae due to its history with algae blooms.

"I would give anything to have one more day with them", Martin wrote in an August 9 public Facebook post. We need your prayers. We are gutted. I wish I could do today over.

And on Saturday, Aug. 10, a couple took their border collie Arya to play in the water at Lake Allatoona in Georgia, local Atlanta news outlet 11Alivereported. About 30 minutes after leaving the lake, Arya started making "weird" noises and vomiting in the auto, pet parent Morgan Fleming wrote on Facebook, as per 11Alive.

According to Alberta Health Services, ingestion of blue-green algae may lead to skin irritation, rash, sore throat, sore red eyes, swollen lips, fever, nausea and vomiting and/or diarrhea.

The algae blooms are most likely to occur during periods of hot, humid weather. Nitrogen and phosphorus enter bodies of water as a result of human activities, such as agriculture, imperfect wastewater systems, fossil fuels, fertilizers, and the use of soaps and detergents containing those nutrients.


As lakes and reservoirs throughout New Jersey remain closed or under advisories over toxic algae, dogs throughout the country have been reportedly dying from exposure to the bacteria.

Toxic algae often stink, sometimes producing a downright nauseating smell, yet animals may be attracted to the smell and taste of them, according to the EPA. The toxic algae is usually blue, green, brown, or red, with a slimy texture and often a frightful smell, the EPA noted.

"I think a lot of people don't realize just how toxic it can be", said Natalie Gruchow, a certified veterinary practice manager at Animal Health Clinic.

The campaign's goal was to raise $2,000, however it has already raised more than $3,000.

They told CNN they thought the cyanobacteria they saw in the pond was flower blooms.

"Remove from the situation and then hose them down with fresh water, try to provide some fresh drinking water to try to dilute out some of that toxin", Gruchow said.

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