On Wednesday afternoon we received a call from Bauer’s owner who was extremely worried. Bauer the 3 year old black Labrador had been out in Daventry Country Park having fun, playing and in all the excitement, jumped into the water for a swim.
During this event his owner noticed the warning signs stating that Blue-Green Algae was present in the reservoir. These signs were urging visitors to the country park not to let their dogs swim in the reservoir or drink from it.
Blue-Green Algae is actually a group of bacteria called cyanobacteria, not algae as the name suggests. It is given this name as it often has the appearance of algae when they clump together in stagnant bodies of water such as lakes and canals.
Blue-Green algae cannot be seen by the naked eye in its individual form, however when they clump together they have the appearance of greenish bundles or brown dots and when it collects in vast quantities it can look like green scum or foam.
Please be warned that algae maybe present at harmful levels even if you cannot see it so please take note of any warning signs put up by authorities and land owners.
Bauer was rushed to the Weedon surgery immediately for emergency treatment after the nurse explained the serious nature of Blue-Green Algae toxicity and the need for instant treatment.
Certain types of Blue-Green Algae produce harmful toxins that effect a dogs liver and unfortunately exposure can be fatal or produce long term health issues.
Toxicity is via ingestion whilst swimming in infected areas. The worst types of the bacteria take effect in as little as 15 minutes to an hour, therefore quick thinking and a fast trip to the vets is essential if you think your dog has been in contact with Blue-Green Algae.
There is no antidote for the toxins that the bacteria produces, but we knew it was really important to empty Bauer’s stomach straight away to prevent the bacteria being ingested further into the system.
Kat the nurse administered an injection of a drug called Apomorphine which induced vomiting. Becca our Nursing assistant then sat with Bauer whilst he bought up large amount of greenish pond water which he had obviously swallowed whilst swimming around with a stick in his mouth. Once we were satisfied that the stomach had been completely emptied Bauer was given a bath to remove any bacteria residing on his hair and skin which he could possibly ingest via self grooming later on.
With such a highly toxic substance and the risks involved it was decided Bauer would stay at the main Towcester hospital overnight for monitoring. He received intravenous fluids to support his liver function throughout the night and was given small meals little and often containing activated charcoal which absorbs any remaining toxins.
The next morning Bauer was given a clean bill of health as you can see here he is very happy to see his mum!
If you see what you think is Blue-Green algae in any area around the country please follow the government guidelines in reporting it so that warnings can be put in place.