Pet owners urged to beware of toxic blue-green algae in ponds and lakes

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Toledo, OHIO (WTVG) - With the heat and this summer it's the perfect recipe for algae to form in the water. Typically algal blooms peak in late summer and early fall and can be a deadly risk to your pets.

Last week, three dogs in North Carolina died just hours after swimming in a body of water filled with toxic blue-green algae.

13abc reached out to a local veterinarian to get advice on what pet owners need to know before letting dogs take a dip in the local stream, creek, pond or lake.

Dr. Anne Bergstrom says toxic blue-green algae can lead to liver problems and ultimately death but it is rare. In the Toledo area, Dr. Bergstrom typically sees about one case a year of a dog poisoned by algae. None of the ones she has seen have died but animals can quickly have problems that can turn deadly.

Some of the health complications dogs can experience include, lethargy, lack of appetite, tremors or seizures.

According to veterinarians, if you have a dog that enjoys taking a swim in the water here is what pet owners need to do:

-Look at the water. If you see any scum or algae on the rocks, avoid letting your pet swim.

-Anytime dogs are done swimming rinse them off with fresh water. This removes spores that could contain harmful bacteria.

Dr. Bergstrom says ultimately use common sense. Not all blue-green algae is toxic but this time of year it's better to be safe than sorry.