Protect Your Pets from Cyanobacteria (Blue-green algae) this summer

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/​c​o​n​t​e​n​t​/​g​n​b​/​e​n​/​d​e​p​a​r​t​m​e​n​t​s​/​o​c​m​o​h​/​h​e​a​l​t​h​_​a​d​v​i​s​o​r​i​e​s​.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:

  • Always check the water and shoreline
  • Do not let dogs drink or swim in water where vis­i­ble blooms or mats are present
  • Do not let dogs eat ben­th­ic mats or veg­e­ta­tion float­ing in the water or along the shore
  • Always take fresh water on walks for your dog
  • On hot days, con­sid­er walk­ing our dog in the morn­ing or evening

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 nbsp​ca​.ca

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