Over the past few weeks we have enjoyed some amazing summer weather; however this has not come without its problems for dogs and their owners. One of the summer dangers has been the emergence of Blue-green algae in our rivers and waterways. These Blue-green algae are bacteria that under certain environmental conditions (such as the recent heat wave) form blooms in still water; this algae can be toxic to animals. Dogs can develop tummy upsets in the early stages but symptoms can escalate if not treated quickly.
Dave Cumber of Dave Cumber Vets said “Blooms of blue-green algae can produce harmful toxins which stop a dog’s liver from functioning properly. Sadly, exposure to toxic blue-green algae is often fatal, and can also cause long term health problems in dogs that survive after drinking or swimming in algae-contaminated water. Dogs who have been swimming in water can get the algae caught in their fur, and can ingest it while cleaning themselves later on. Concentrations of the algae vary throughout the year and may not always be harmful – but you can’t tell simply by looking at them whether or not they are dangerous, so it is best not to run the risk of allowing your dog to come into contact with water where the algae may be present.”
If your dog shows any of the following signs after drinking from, or swimming or paddling in water, contact your vet immediately and tell them you are concerned about blue-green algae:
- Vomiting/being sick
- Breathing difficulties
Wasps & Bees
Dogs love to chase buzzing insects, but getting too close can be dangerous. It’s better to get your dog to leave bees and wasps alone as stings can cause allergic reactions.
Most insect stings will simply be painful or irritating for your dog, but being stung multiple times can be fatal.
Many dogs are stung on the paws or the face or mouth, as they go to investigate the insect using this part of their bodies. When dogs snap at bees and wasps, they are more likely to be stung in the mouth or throat. Stings in these areas, particularly inside the mouth, are hazardous because any swelling can block your pet’s airway. If your dog is stung in the mouth, contact your vet quickly for further advice.
Signs that your dog has been stung
- Holding up a paw (if stung on the paw)
- Biting or nibbling at the site of the sting
- Pawing at the face or mouth
Signs that your dog is having an allergic reaction to a bee or wasp sting
- Difficulty breathing
- Swelling of the mouth and/or throat
If you notice one or more of these signs when your dog has been stung, take them to the vet immediately for treatment.