Pet owners have been warned over the risks of allowing animals to swim in still water after a dog died from algae poisoning.
Another dog had to be anaesthetised and given oxygen by endotracheal tube until the toxic effects of the blue-green algae wore off.
Both animals were taken to Bute and Cowal vets in Dunoon in two separate cases of suspected poisoning.
Dog owner’s in the area have been warned to keep their pets away from still water and advised to particularly avoid Loch Eck, where the dog had been swimming before dying on Monday.
Blue-green algae can’t actually be seen until it starts clumping together, but once it clumps, there are a few different ways it appears in water:
• It can look like a green or blueish scum on the water
• It might look like someone has thrown blue or green paint into the water
• It might clump together to look like seaweed
• It can appear in brown clumps alongside other weeds in the water
• It can appear as green flakes or brown dots
• It can turn water cloudy and give it a green, blue-green or greenish-brown appearance
• You might see foaming on the edge of the shore, which can look like sewage pollution.
Some, but not all, blue-green algae species release dangerous toxins into the water.
There’s no way of telling if algae is toxic just by looking at it and even blue-green algae isn’t always toxic – some types are safe while others are only toxic at certain times of year when they’re blooming.
Dogs should never be allowed to touch or drink water when the algae is present.
Symptoms of blue green algae poisoning, which can take anything from 15 minutes to a few days to develop, are often vague and include:
• Vomiting (sometimes with blood)
• Increased thirst
• Breathing difficulties
• Sudden/unexplained death.
The waning from Bute and Cowal Vets and PDSA urges owners to call a vet immediately if they think their dog has blue green algae poisoning, the sooner the dog gets treatment the better their chance of survival.
In a post on Facebook they said: “Sadly, the outlook for blue green algae poisoning is not good. The toxins act very quickly, and are often deadly.
“The quicker your dog is treated, the higher their chance of survival.
“There is no specific treatment available, so your vet will treat your dog’s symptoms, support their organs and try to prevent the toxins causing any further damage.
“The more toxins a dog takes in, the worse their poisoning will be.”