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Canine Sense - Did You Know

Check out these articles by Dr. Stanley Coren (BC, Canada) Canine Corner

Friday, September 24, 2010




Something I've never heard of before is that, even here in the Ottawa area, any type of standing water, ponds, water features you may have in your yard that might contain blue-green algae can produce serious toxins, when the weather is right; they form enormous blooms or CyanoHABs. These are recognizable as blue-green, brown or white floating mats. They're responsible for causing illnesses in humans and animals exposed to them by drinking or swimming where a bloom is present. These blooms aren't always present at the surface as it depends on a lot of conditions.

The story - a client of mine let their 2 dogs out last Thurs for last potty, then put them to bed. Within 20 mins they could heard signs of distress with the male, Maxx. Down they went to find this boy vomiting blood and diarrhea blood. In less than 45 mins of attending to him he went 'down', totally 'out'!!! They rushed him to one of the 24/7 emergency vet clinics for treatment. At this point they were told not to hold up any hope of him making it through the night. What could it have been that caused such a violent reaction so quickly? They went home and searched the property to try and find what he might have gotten into ... nothing could be located; no mushrooms, nothing. Then they searched the internet and found out about these blue green algae (BGA)!!!! hummm their garden POND!!!! had to be it.

This BGA has been found in fossil form going back 3.5 million years, and produces neuro & liver toxins. BGA neurotoxins can kill animals within minutes by paralyzing the respiratory muscles, while the hepatotoxins can cause death within hours by causing blood to pool in the liver. Some of you may have heard the term Red Tide which is the same in large bodies of water, but is not associated with tidal movement.

Maxx and his sister Chloe, after his grooming

I heard about this on Tuesday, as Maxx needed to be cleaned up, and to fix his chopped up, shaved rump as best I could. To me, Maxx was the same. No ill effects neurologically at all!! TG. The vets say they haven't seen a case of recovery from such an ill dog in many moons ... they really held out no hope, except, it was for his will to live that brought him thru it all. So Maxx got my special treatment :)

Maxx's liver values aren't normal yet but they are way down. He's on special food and meds and will return in two weeks for follow-up testing. They had gone up to 3150, normal levels should be less tha 100!

SO canine friends, this is probably as freaky to you as it is to me hear; take heed on this if you've got a garden pond in your yard, any standing or running water on your property as this toxin hits HARD and FAST. Don't waste time in getting to a vet, and if you don't know a 24/7 emergency vet #, look it up now and paste it up where it's always handy for anyone in the household.

Just do an blue algae canine toxin web search and you'll find more info. Learn about any garden or fish ponds you might have and how to properly care for them, as this BGA can come and go in a short time frame.

I hope this info helps more owners & their dogs.


Cathie September 24, 2010 at 8:26 PM  

Maureen thanks for posting this info. There's been several water advisories over the summer near Hanover because of the blue algae. Here's a link

Our local Health Unit does a great job using radio, newspapers and TV and door to door flyers letting the residents know. Glad Maxx is ok.

Shelamo Shelties September 25, 2010 at 12:12 PM  

You're welcome Cathie; thanks for the added info/links.
Private replies have also noted increase in mushrooms right now, so take heed too of those folks.

Kav September 28, 2010 at 11:28 AM  

Wow, that is frightening!!!! I am glad that Maxx is recovering. Poor baby! And what a scare for his owners. I don't have standing water around my own yard but I'll keep a careful eye on my guy when we're out for walks. Thanks for the info.


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