On YouTube: Sometimes Beaches and Lakes Aren't Completely Safe for Your Pets
Harmful Algal Blooms - News


When the summer heats up lots of people head to area beaches and lakes but there is a threat to you and your pets brewing in the water. Time Warner Cable News reporter Lisa Chelenza has more about cyanobacteria, and why you and your pets should avoid it, in this edition of Pet Pointers.

Syracuse, NY, June 11, 2016 - Swimming in a local lake may seem like a harmless natural activity for both people and pets but certain types of bacteria can be deadly to pets and cause serious illness in humans.

David MacNeill is a Great Lakes fisheries and ecosystem specialist with New York Sea grant and monitors the condition of area waterways, looking for any harmful elements including evidence of cyanobacteria, commonly referred to as blue green algae.  

“Blue green algae or cyanobacteria are a normal part of our waterways.  When there growths become excessive it can cause problems. The problem being for dogs and people is that some of these cyanobacteria create toxins which can sick people and in some cases kill dogs,” said MacNeill.

While not all algae is toxic, it is best to avoid areas where blooms have been detected. Dogs are much more vulnerable than humans to the harmful effects of exposure to cyanobacteria, and nationally each year dozen of dogs die from exposure even after treatment.

“Very often in high doses of these toxins the animal can get sick within an hour and if you do not get them to a vet right away, they can easily die,” said MacNeill.

Symptoms to look for in humans and pets include vomiting and diarrhea, and can appear within a few minutes or a few days and severe cases can lead to seizures, liver failure, respiratory arrest and even death.

Be sure to rinse off thoroughly and do not allow your pet to ingest it by licking their paws or fur.

More Info: New York Sea Grant

New York Sea Grant (NYSG), a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York, is one of 33 university-based programs under the National Sea Grant College Program (NSGCP) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The NSGCP engages this network of the nation’s top universities in conducting scientific research, education, training and extension projects designed to foster science-based decisions about the use and conservation of our aquatic resources. Through its statewide network of integrated services, NYSG has been promoting coastal vitality, environmental sustainability, and citizen awareness about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources since 1971.

New York Sea Grant maintains Great Lakes offices at SUNY Buffalo, the Wayne County Cooperative Extension office in Newark and at SUNY Oswego. In the State's marine waters, NYSG has offices at Stony Brook University and Stony Brook Manhattan, in the Hudson Valley through Cooperative Extension in Kingston and at Brooklyn College. 

For updates on Sea Grant activities: www.nyseagrant.org has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube links. NYSG also offers a free e-list sign up via www.nyseagrant.org/coastlines for its flagship publication, NY Coastlines/Currents, which is published several times a year.

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