Blue-green algae has been found a number of times in the past 3 months, with discoveries confirmed most recently in Surrey, Hampshire and Kent. Each time it is dogs which have suffered, often fatally, from illnesses caused by the deadly bacteria.
But what is this mysterious algae, and what can we do to prevent it infecting our dogs?
Algae occurs naturally in inland waters such as rivers, streams and lakes. During an algae bloom the water generally becomes less clear and may look green, blue or brown.
Cyanobacteria or ‘blue-green algae; can produce harmful toxins, which can be fatal to wild animals, livestock and our pets. As well as developing rashes on humans too after contact.
It is impossible to tell if an algae bloom is toxic just by looking at it, so it is always best to assume it is, and steer clear. Report the bloom location to the Environment Agency. Do not allow your pets to go near the water, even any areas away from the algae itself.
If you do believe your pet has come into contact with toxic algae, seek advice from your vet immediately.
Good hygiene practices for dog walkers:
1. Look out for notices and alerts in your area for suspected blue-green algae or other canine contaminants and plan your dog walks accordingly to avoid those areas.
2. Ensure all dogs are kept away from any inland waters which are affected, keeping dogs on a lead if required, especially those who normally enjoy a jump into ponds, lakes and rivers.
3. If your dog does like to take a dip, give them a bath with a good canine antibacterial shampoo when you get back to the car or home.
4. Spray RenaSan onto your dog and make sure you cover them thoroughly all over. We also recommend you spray any areas of your house or vehicle they may have come into contact with to ensure harmful germs are killed immediately. Allow the spray to dry naturally.
5. Contact your vet immediately if you know or suspect your dog may have come into contact with harmful algae