Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, are microscopic organisms that can be found in New Brunswick lakes, rivers, and wetlands. Some cyanobacteria produce toxins that could be harmful to your pet’s liver and brain. Pets, especially dogs, are attracted to the bacteria odour, and if ingested, may lead to several complications.
“Keep your pets away from water if you see signs of cyanobacterial blooms or mats. These organisms are incredibly toxic and are known to cause poisoning in dogs, cats, and other animals,” said Lesley Rogers, Executive Director, New Brunswick SPCA.
“If the animal has been in the water with blue-green algae, immediately wash them off with clean water to keep them from licking off their fur. Call your veterinarian right away if you suspect cyanobacteria poisoning in your pet” Rogers said.
Under certain conditions, cyanobacteria can form surface blooms and benthic mats. Surface blooms can look like scum, foam, or paint streaks on the water’s surface, and can appear blue-green, green, red, or brown. Benthic mats look like clumps of vegetation that can appear brown or dark green in the water. They may be attached to rocks or aquatic vegetation, or floating in water and may appear brown or grey once they have dried.
Symptoms of a dog who consumes cyanobacteria can be vomiting, seizures, diarrhea, experiencing breathing difficulty, and losing consciousness. It can even lead to the death of the animal.
The New Brunswick Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health provides a list of cyanobacteria reports as part of its public health advisories at https://www2.gnb.ca/content/gnb/en/departments/ocmoh/health_advisories.html. Once issued, an advisory will remain in place indefinitely as water bodies with a history of cyanobacteria blooms are at an increased risk of future blooms.
Some ways for pet owners to avoid cyanobacteria are:
About the New Brunswick SPCA
Founded in 1881, New Brunswick SPCA (NBSCPA) is the only province-wide organization mandated to enforce animal protection laws. A dedicated team of 15 Animal Protection Officers is vested with the authority under the SPCA Act of New Brunswick to investigate and, if necessary, lay charges, seize animals, or recommend court orders to persons suspected of abuse and cruelty to animals.
The NBSPCA is a registered charity that exists to provide province-wide leadership in the humane treatment of animals. We enforce relevant legislation, ensure shelter for neglected or abused domesticated animals and agricultural animals, and provide public education and advocacy to empower New Brunswickers to help animals live long and healthy lives.
To learn more visit nbspca.ca