Bacteria-Infested Ponds Turn Deadly for Dogs

reprinted from Garden & Gun https://gardenandgun.com/articles/bacteria-infested-ponds-turn-deadly-dogs/

The recent deaths of a number of dogs around the South highlight the danger of toxic blue-green algae blooms

by CAROLINE SANDERS

August 15, 2019

PHOTO: NORTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY


PHOTO: NORTH CAROLINA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY

A summer evening swim in North Carolina turned deadly last week when three dogs died after playing in a pond thought to contain blue-green algae, toxic bacteria that grow in warm, still bodies of water. Wilmington pet owners Melissa Martin and Denise Mintz took Abby and Izzy, two West Highland white terriers, and Harpo, a “doodle” mix, to cool off after temperatures reached the high nineties last Thursday. Within fifteen minutes after leaving, the dogs started seizing as their nervous systems began to fail. Martin and Mintz rushed their pups to Eastern Carolina Veterinary Referral Animal Emergency and Trauma, but it was too late. All three dogs died. 

Similar deaths have been reported in Lake Allatoona near Atlanta and Red Bud Isle dog park at Lady Bird Lake in Austin, Texas, and blue-green algae has been identified in lakes at a number of locations around the South and beyond, including Montgomery County in Maryland, Spotsylvania County in Virginia, lakes near Charlotte, North Carolina, as well as in Minnesota, Maine, and Montana. 

Blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria, appears in fresh and brackish bodies of water, proliferating especially when the ponds or lakes are stagnant, shallow, warm, and full of nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen from various sources, including fertilizer. These conditions collided during the Southeast’s recent heat wave. “The environmental conditions have to be perfect: hot, humid, with no rain,” Dr. Kimberly Toombs, a veterinarian at the Wilmington clinic where the three dogs were brought on Thursday, told G&G. “Rain stirs up water and bacteria can’t grow. It’s been probably twenty days or so since we’ve had significant rainfall here.” 

Elizabeth Booth, the watershed planning and monitoring program manager for the Georgia Environmental Protection Division, agrees. “It’s truly all about the environmental conditions,” Booth says. “We went out Monday [two days after the lethal bloom on Lake Allatoona] and sampled the water. The blue-green algae bloom had dissipated.” 

While ingesting cyanobacteria will harm any species—humans included—dogs are particularly susceptible since they tend to play in the shallow ends of ponds, where the algae blooms typically occur, often lapping up water and later grooming it off themselves. According to the Center for Disease Control, if pets come into contact with blue-green algae, wash it off with clean water immediately and rush them to the vet. 

“Toxic water will appear bright, pea soup green,” Booth says. But not all green water is deadly. The Georgia Environmental Protection Division has outlined a simple test that will help determine whether algae in lakes are safe: Fill a jar three-quarters of the way full with both surface scum and the water below, close the lid, and place in the refrigerator overnight. “If the algae settles out, it’s not an issue,” Booth says. If a green ring appears at the top of the jar, though, it’s likely toxic.

While this test is helpful, the safest advice is simple: “In hot, humid times of year, which for us is like March to November,” Toombs says, “dogs should stay out of any stagnant water.”

Remembering Our Tackle Michael Vick Campaign

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We were reminded today that ten years ago Michael Vick was signed to the Eagles. At the time Main Line Animal Rescue Founder Bill Smith thought it would be great to turn a negative into a positive and help feed a few shelter dogs. The campaign was wildly successful (tons of food collected/distributed, and both ESPN and Wolf Blitzer praised our efforts). Bill is no longer with MLAR but his mission lives on at 1 Love 4 Animals, PA's fastest growing animal rescue.

https://latimesblogs.latimes.com/unleashed/2009/11/main-line-animal-rescue-michael-vick-san-diego-.html

Happy Birthday, Grace!

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Grace and her sisters and friends collected and bagged dog and cat food for our AniMeals Program. Grace asked her friends to bring pet food to her birthday party instead of presents. Kids making this world a better place for seniors and the pets they love. 1 Love’s dogs attended the festivities. Special thanks to Grace’s parents!

Heart to Heart to Heart

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1 Love 4 Animals invites you, your friends and family to participate in our celebration of shelter pets by helping us create a giant illuminated heart (using flashlights and cell phones) on the grounds of the Radnor Clubhouse826 Providence Rd, Malvern, PA 19355 on Tuesday, February 12, 2019,  6:00 pm - 7:00 pm. Our heart will be filmed from above, promoted on social media, and will raise awareness to the plight of homeless animals throughout the Delaware Valley. The event is free. Coffee, hot chocolate, and cupcakes will be served. Participants will be asked to stand on a chalk outline of a giant heart with their cell phone flashlights so all the world can see how much our own rescue pets light up our lives!  Kids are encouraged to participate.  

On the same day/night, employees, volunteers, and rescue partners at Philadelphia's Animal Care & Control Team (ACCT) will form their own illuminated heart in their parking lot at 111 W Hunting Park Ave, Philadelphia, PA 19140 in a celebration of pet adoption two days before Valentines Day!  Please join us at either location and encourage others to adopt and share the love with ACCT and 1 Love 4 Animals' (available for adoption) dogs and cats, bunnies and birds. Bring your cell phones or flashlights: 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm, Tuesday, February 12th. Cupcakes and coffee will be served. This event is free and everyone is welcome to participate.

Please confirm (so we know in advance how big our hearts will be) by emailing Bill Smith at BillSmith4Animals@gmail.com or contact Susan Russell of ACCT at srussell@acctphilly.org, or call ACCT: 267-385-3800





1 Love 4 Animals' Dogs Playing in this Year's Dog Bowl on Animal Planet

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Three of 1 Love 4 Animals' dogs were asked to be part of this year's Dog Bowl. Bella the Great Dane (came to our rescue with a crushed leg from our rescue partner in Miami, now living large in CT), Reggie (drafted from Animal Control in East Harlem), and Gizmo (once on the "Urgent" list in an overcrowded Big City Shelter, now scoring touchdowns in his home in Bryn Mawr). See our dogs and dozens of other rescue dogs on Animal Planet's Dog Bowl (Sat. Feb.2nd @ 8:00 pm and again on Super Bowl Sunday, check your local listings). Dog Bowl was celebrated animal advocate Jill Rappaport's answer to Animal Planet's wildly popular Puppy Bowl. Hope to see you at the game!