Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Blue-green 'algae' blooms threaten dogs and livestock

Blue-green algae (Kansas State University Extension photo)
This time of year, it's normal to see a scum of algae in lakes and ponds; be careful about letting your dog or livestock come into contact with such water. Blue-green cyanobacteria, often referred to as algae, can kill. Two North Carolina women learned that when all three of their dogs died after swimming in a pond laden with the stuff.

"The health threats to animals range from skin rashes to neurological problems. The blooms can release toxins that can cause liver damage, lead to respiratory paralysis or produce other fatal conditions," Christine Hauser reports for The New York Times. "Intense blooms have led to swimming bans from lakes in the Pacific Northwest to the entire Mississippi seacoast, to Lake Hopatcong, New Jersey’s largest lake. Algal blooms tend to thrive in high temperatures and after heavy rains carry fertilizer runoff and sewage into waterways."

Blue-green cyanobacteria can go undetected below the water's surface or dry up in crusts onshore, so check carefully before allowing your dog or livestock to go swimming, wallowing or drinking, Hauser reports. The blooms may vary in color to gray, red or brown, and can establish themselves quickly in a pond, A.J. Tarpoff reports for Drovers. Click here for tips on how to sample and remedy blue-green "algae" in your water.

"Dangerous algal blooms are a 'major environmental problem' in all 50 states, and scientists believe they will continue to wreak havoc on U.S. waterways with the rising threat of climate change, according to the Environmental Protection Agency," Katie Mettler reports for The Washington Post. "Red-tide algal blooms have killed marine life on the Florida and Mississippi coasts."

No comments: