Add To Favorites

Three dogs died from toxic algae after playing in a pond: report

Orlando Sentinel - 8/12/2019

Aug. 12--A fun day at the pond turned devastating after three dogs died from toxic algae. According to CNN, the dog owners are now working to educate fellow dog owners about these dangerous algae blooms.

North Carolina residents Melissa Martin and Denise Mintz took their three dogs to a pond in Wilmington to cool off from a hot day. Within 15 minutes of leaving the pond one of their dogs, Abby, began to have a seizure, according to CNN.

Martin rushed Abby to the veterinary hospital, with her two other dogs, Izzy and Harpo in tow. Once they arrived, Izzy also began to have a seizure. Not long after, Harpo began to seize and show signs of liver failure. According to CNN, all three dogs were dead by the end of the night.

Martin's veterinarian said the dogs were poisoned by blue-green algae that lingered in the pond where the dogs played.

"I wish I could do today over," Martin said in a Facebook post. "I would give anything to have one more day with them. Harpo and I had work to do, but now we will carry on in his memory and we will make sure every standing body of water has a warning sign."

Martin told CNN that she didn't see any signs warning of toxic algae near the pond, even though the pond is near a popular walking trail. Martin said it's now her mission to put signs at every body of water that can have these deadly bacteria.

"I will not stop until I make positive change," she told CNN. "I will not lose my dogs for nothing."

Toxic algae blooms are more likely to infest bodies of fresh water when the weather is warm and waters are stagnant, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

Blue-green algae had a major outbreak in Florida in 2018. Blue-green algae can harm both the freshwater and brackish ecoysystems, but also in some cases be toxic to humans if ingested, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. If toxic, the cyanobacteria can cause nausea, vomiting and even liver failure in severe cases.

Earlier this year, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis formed the Blue-green Algae Task Force in an effort to alleviate the problem. The five-person group's recommendations aim to reduce nutrients in Lake Okeechobee and other downstream estuaries where some of the worth blue-green algae outbreaks occurred in 2018.

The FWC said blue-green algae outbreaks occur in both freshwater and brackish waters including past occurrences on the the Harris Chain of Lakes including lake Apopka, Eustis, Griffin and Harris as well as the St. Johns, St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee river systems.

"Like red tides, cyanobacteria can grow and accumulate, or bloom, when environmental conditions such as light availability and temperature are favorable," reads a statement on the FWC page. "Nutrient pollution from agricultural and urban runoff causes the majority of freshwater cyanobacteria blooms. Other conditions that contribute to blooms are stagnant water resulting from a lack of natural flushing and land clearing."

The blooms can block sunlight from underwater grasses and other vegetation, reduce oxygen in the water and cause fish kills similar to red tide as well as add toxins to the ecosystem that run up through the food chain.

Read the full story on CNN.

___

(c)2019 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)

Visit The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.) at www.OrlandoSentinel.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.