Sevenoaks vet issues urgent warning to keep dogs away from blue-green algae at Tonbridge Park


A Sevenoaks veterinary clinic has issued an urgent warning to keep dogs away from blue-green algae.

The Elands Veterinary Clinic has warned dog owners to stay away from the bacteria after a dog fell ill from exposure to blue-green algae in a Tonbridge park.

They advised people to be careful walking their dogs through Haysden Country Park and to see an emergency vet as soon as possible if they suspect their dog has been exposed to blue-green algae.

Read more: Lungworm in Kent: Map shows Kent hotspots where most dogs got sick

An article on the Eland Veterinary Clinic Facebook page read: “IMPORTANT Please note that this morning we saw a dog exposed to blue-green algae at Haysden Country Park in Tonbridge.



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“Please be careful if you walk your dogs in this area, and if you suspect your dog may have been exposed to blue-green algae, please see an emergency veterinarian as soon as possible.”

Hayesden Country Park has previously erected signs warning dog owners of poisonous algae, which could prove fatal to their pets.



Haysden Country Park is a popular destination for dog walkers
Haysden Country Park is a popular destination for dog walkers

Fluorescent orange signs placed around Lake Barden, a popular route for dog walkers on the outskirts of town, have warned pet owners to avoid letting their pets come into contact with water.

Bewl Water has also previously issued a warning to visitors, following two reports of dogs dead after swimming in the water.

The warning notice, issued by the Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council environmental protection team, read: “Blue-green algae was found in this water. Avoid contact.

“Swallowing water or seaweed scum can cause stomach upset or more serious health effects. Contact with water or seaweed scum can cause skin problems.

“It is also toxic to animals and can cause serious illness and death. Please do not leave your dog in the water.

“It is a good precaution to avoid contact with scum and water nearby.”

What is blue-green algae?

Animal welfare charity Blue Cross has also warned dog owners to be vigilant in the face of this threat.

Explaining the threat on their website, they said, “Blue-green algae is a term used to describe a group of bacteria, called cyanobacteria.

“They’re not actually algae, but the organisms are named because they often give the appearance of algae when they clump together in bodies of water.



Blue-green algae can look like green flakes, greenish bundles, or brown spots in a pond, lake, or stream
Blue-green algae can look like green flakes, greenish bundles, or brown spots in a pond, lake, or stream

“Bacteria cannot be seen with the naked eye unless they clump together. When this happens, blue-green algae can look like green flakes, greenish bundles, or brown dots in a pond, lake, or stream.

“When the algae blooms, it can give the impression that a blue-green scum has appeared on the surface of the water. It sometimes looks a bit like pea soup.

“The flowers of organisms often accumulate on the edges of ponds and lakes, which can look like moss.

“It is more common in non-flowing fresh waters such as lakes and ponds in warm weather when there is less rainfall, but can also occur at other times of the year.”

Why is blue-green algae dangerous for dogs?

On why algae is dangerous to dogs in particular, Blue Cross said, “Blue-green algae blossoms can produce harmful toxins that prevent a dog’s liver from functioning properly. However, not all types of blue-green algae are dangerous.



Signs at Haysden Country Park warning visitors to avoid contact with water
Signs at Haysden Country Park warning visitors to avoid contact with water

Unfortunately, exposure to toxic blue-green algae is often fatal and can also cause long-term health problems in dogs that survive after drinking or swimming in water contaminated with algae. Blue-green algae can kill a dog just 15 minutes to an hour after drinking contaminated water.

“Dogs that have swam in water can catch algae in their fur and ingest it when cleaning themselves up later.”

What are the symptoms of blue-green algae poisoning?

According to Blue Cross, signs of blue-green algae poisoning in dogs include vomiting, diarrhea, seizures, weakness, loss of consciousness / collapse, disorientation / confusion, drooling and difficulty respiratory.

They advise contacting your vet immediately if your dog exhibits any of the signs listed above after drinking, swimming, or paddling in the water.

Unfortunately, there is no antidote for the toxins produced by the bacteria, but if symptoms are caught early enough, vets will likely try to make the dog sick in an attempt to remove the toxins from the body before they occur. do not settle.

Unfortunately, poisoning with blue-green algae often causes fatal liver failure.


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