Three Dogs Die From Blue-Green Algae Poisoning Hours After Going Swimming

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

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

"I had no idea", said Melissa Martin, whose dogs died from blue-green algae poisoning.

The issue got national attention when North Carolina's Melissa Martin posted on Facebook about how all three of her dogs died after swimming in a Wilmington pond.

Some types of blue-green algae can kill a dog just 15 minutes to an hour after drinking contaminated water. We need your prayers. In a series of heartbreaking posts on Facebook, she detailed how an afternoon of fun turned tragic.

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.

Fifteen minutes after the leaving the water that night, Abby started having a seizure.

"Prompt treatment is important in all cases of poisoning, but since blue-green algae attacks so fast, speedy intervention is critical".

Martin told CNN that she didn't notice the algae at first, but, as she learned from her veterinarian, what appeared to be debris from flowers was actually blooms of cyanobacteria. According to the EPA, causes include sunlight, slow-moving water, and excess nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus, resulting in nutrient pollution. The CDC recommends avoiding bodies of water that smell bad, look discolored, have scum on the surface or that contain dead fish or other animals.

The harmful algae can cause skin rash and gastrointestinal illness, such as upset stomach, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. "It is a good idea to keep pets out of the water when cyanobacteria may be present". They advise you take your pet immediately to the vet if you think you may have come in contact with blue-green algae.

"There are only a handful of public health agencies that have the capacity to do testing for blue-green algae", said LaLiberte.

"The hardest thing I have ever done is hold these incredible animals and watch their lives slip away", she added.

The campaign's goal was to raise $2,000, however it has already raised more than $3,000. Although no human deaths caused by cyanobacteria have been reported in the United States, many dogs have died after swimming in infected waters.

One study identified 368 cases of toxic algae poisoning associated with dogs throughout the USA over a nine-decade period, but the researchers believe this represents only "a small fraction of cases that occur throughout the United States each year".