Pet owners warned to keep pets away from algae-covered lakes

Posted: Updated:

Animal health professionals are warning pet owners to keep their furry friends away from lakes that may have dangerous algae after several dogs have died.

Four dog deaths have been reported in North Carolina and Georgia that resulted from the animals swimming in lakes contaminated with the algae.

Melissa Martin of North Carolina says she lost her dog to illness caused by the algae.

"He came onto the floor and he was trying to wrap his paw around my arm and I just told him what a good boy he was and how he had done so much and that we weren't going to let this happen for nothing,” she says.

RELATED: Residents warned of toxic algae bloom in Manasquan Reservoir 
RELATED: DEP: Harmful algae found at more lakes across New Jersey 

The algae that killed Martin’s dog is the same algae found in lakes in Georgia, Wisconsin and in New Jersey.

"When in doubt just don't even swim them in it. It's not worth it. You're better safe than sorry,” says Dr. Adam Christman of Brick Town Veterinarian Hospital.

"Vomiting, lethargy - seizures is a big one. Diarrhea - it can even be blood-tinged as well, and sometimes excessive salivation and foaming of the mouth,” Christman says.

The veterinary says that the symptoms can manifest 15 to 20 minutes after the pet swims in the body of water. He says that the toxins in the algae can either affect a dog’s liver or their neurological system and shuts its body down within minutes.

"It breaks our hearts because there's no treatment for it so you just try to do supportive care and the best thing is just trying to be more proactive than reactive,” Christman says.

A list of New Jersey lakes contaminated with the dangerous algae can be found here.

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