There have been reports about the blue-green algae spotted at Argal Reservoir, Penryn in Cornwall, which can be fatal or very harmful to animals. Dog owners are urged to be very careful around the lake.
By, 10 Aug 2019
These toxic algae appear during warmer weather, and form on the surface of the water.
A local dog owner, who visited the Penryn Reservoir at the weekend, has shared an appeal on social media, to warn others. She allowed her dogs to swim in the contaminated water, which sadly resulted in her dogs becoming quite ill.
What are blue-green algae
Cyanobacteria, the technical term for blue-green algae, are photosynthetic microscopic organisms that are actually bacteria. Dense growths of this algae often turn the water brownish-green, or blueish-green and are a natural part of the lake’s environment. During warm weather, high nutrients cause these organisms to multiply, which results in an explosion of the harmful algal blooms. These blooms not only give off a musty odour, but they turn the water a murky, pea-soup colour.
Are blue-green algae toxic?
These bacterial infected blooms produce poisonous toxins that may affect people, cattle and pets that come into contact with the contaminated water, either by drinking or swimming. Whilst not all blue-green algae blooms are deadly, its impossible to determine which actually produce toxins without extensive testing. Because of this, all blue-green algae must be considered to be potentially dangerous. Swallowing just a few gulps of this poisonous, algae-contaminated water could prove fatal.
Blue Cross animal charity gives advice to keep your dogs well away from the water’s edge, if you suspect the presence of this algae. Long term health problems can arise from contact with this toxic water. Contamination can kill a dog within just 15 minutes to one hour.
Symptoms of blue-green algae poisoning
If you think your dog has any of the following symptoms after drinking from or paddling or swimming in blue-green algae contaminated water, contact your vet as soon as possible.
# Breathing difficulties
# Vomiting or diarrhoea
# Fitting or seizures
Local dog walker challenges the Water Authority
The owner of Oscar and Boo, two dogs who were rushed for urgent medical treatment after swimming in Argal Reservoir, Penryn, challenged South West Water for their lack of signs to warn people about the toxic blue-green algae. When out walking with her dogs, she spotted only one small sign, set well away from the water’s edge. A spokesperson for South West Lakes Trust pointed out that there are actually seven signs in this location, warning dog walkers about the dangers, and to keep their pets out of the reservoir.
To protect not only your pet’s health, but also your own, from blue-green algae, look out for signs, not only around the waters’ edge but also in car parks and at access points to any locations with water, where you walk. Be on your guard and always be aware at these beauty spots as not all blue-green algae blooms are toxic, you cannot tell which are, just by looking at them.