Dog owners warned over toxic blue-green algae on lakes and ponds - symptoms and guidance

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News bulletin: Liverpool City Council defends award spending, dog owners warned over toxic algae on lakes, Chester Zoo funding

The British Veterinary Association is urging pet owners to keep their dogs safe when walking near freshwater bodies this summer, as the warm weather increases the risk of toxic algae growth. The warning comes after eight dogs died from suspected poisoning.

The algae may appear as green or greenish-brown scum on the surface of water like lakes and ponds can contain dangerous toxins which can be harmful and potentially fatal to pets if ingested even in small quantities.

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What is blue-green algae? Blue-green algae is a term that describes a group of bacteria called cyanobacteria, and it is found in freshwater bodies such as lakes, ponds, canals, rivers and reservoirs. The chemicals produced from the bacteria are highly toxic to dogs and are also dangerous to other animals, including cats, horses, birds and cows, and can even be harmful to humans when ingested in small quantities. Not all blue-green algae is poisonous, but bodies containing algal blooms should be avoided.

The algae appear as a green or greenish-brown scum on the surface of the water and dogs can swallow it by drinking water from an affected body of water, or while licking their fur after going for a swim. Dogs can even come into contact with the bacteria even if they don’t go into the water as toxic blooms can be blown to the edges of bodies of water.

Common Symptoms of blue-green algae poisoning include:

  • dribbling
  • tiredness
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • convulsions
  • problems breathing
  • organ failure
  • Signs often start within the hour but can occur within a few minutes or even be delayed by a few days.

⚫ Liverpool Council has defended its decision to spend almost £6,000 in the past 12 months for staff to attend award ceremonies. Amid criticism from opposition parties, the council has defended its position, saying engaging with these events “is helpful recognition for our staff.”

🦍 Chester Zoo received a £318,323 National Lottery Heritage Fund grant, which they say they'll use to accelerate nature recovery in Cheshire. The funding will be used to empower local communities to connect with severely declining UK species conservation, through an exciting new collaborative project named Networks for Nature.

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