Conditions Right For Algae That Are Deadly To Animals

Aug 13, 2019

Several dogs in southeastern states, including Georgia, have died after coming into contact with a toxic algae growing in ponds in lakes.

The blue-green algae thrive in summer sun and phosphorous runoff from fertilizers commonly used at this time of year. It can appear in lakes, ponds and even ditches. The algae are made up of toxic cyanobacteria.

John Crabb is with Estate Management services, a Brunswick company that manages ponds and lakes across the country. He said they’ve been flooded with calls and reminds people the algae is easier to spot on sunny days.

“You’re looking for certain toxin producing cyanobacteria’s or blue-green algae’s and at certain levels that it takes to be toxic.”

Crabb said many northern states regularly test for the algae and close fresh water lakes and ponds when it is present. Specialized testing is available.

The algae is so toxic that animals that come in contact with it can die in as little at 15 minutes and there is no treatment. A couple in Marietta lost their dog on Saturday after they let it swim in Lake Allatoona. The dog ingested the algae blooms and died soon after at the veterinarian’s office.

Water treatment generally includes copper and peroxide-based algaecides that can kill bacteria and work within 24 hours.