Blue-green algae can be found in many types of waterbody throughout the UK (i.e. ponds, streams, lakes, estuaries etc.) and these can produce toxins which may be harmful to animals and humans.
The types of chemicals produced by the algae may vary and can therefore cause a wide range of different clinical effects. These effects can range from vomiting and diarrhoea (both of which may be bloody) to lethargy, effects on the heart and blood pressure, twitching, problems breathing, liver and kidney impairment or can even cause death shortly after exposure.
Dogs are most commonly exposed when swimming, playing in or drinking from contaminated water.
Water that contains blue-green algae may appear a different colour, or may be recognisable from coloured algal blooms, appearing on the surface of the water, or close to the shore. Unfortunately, it is impossible to know if there are any toxins present in the water without testing.
The amount of algae in a body of water may vary throughout the year, but is likely to be at its greatest in, or after, hot and sunny periods (i.e. mid to late summer) and will vary depending on the amount of nutrients available in the water.
If you come across a body of water that is known to contain blue-green algae, do not let your dog swim in it or drink from it.