Dog owners in Lichfield and Burntwood are being warned about a potentially deadly bacteria in open water that can harm their animals.

The PDSA charity say blue-green algae can be found in a variety of lakes, streams and other bodies of water.

Dogs who come into contact with it face death or serious health issues.

PDSA vet nurse Nina Downing said:

“Blue-green algae can grow in all aquatic environments, but it’s most prevalent in still or stagnant water during summer.

“This particular type of bacteria is highly poisonous to animals, and can sadly be fatal, or result in long-term health problems for those that survive.

“Dogs are particularly at risk, as they are more likely to drink from ponds while out on a walk, or groom themselves after swimming in affected water.

“However – the more aware we are of the potential dangers, the better we can protect our precious four-legged friends.”

Nina Downing, PDSA

Blue-green algae often appears as a green or blueish scum, but sometimes has a brown tinge and it’s seen on the water’s surface.

Nina added:

“It can sometimes clump up and the blooms can create foam on the shoreline.

“There’s no way of telling if algae is toxic just by looking at it, and some types of blue-green algae are only dangerous at certain times of year, but always be cautious and don’t take any risks around it.

“Be vigilant when walking your dog near any form of water, and if it looks bright green in colour, avoid at all costs.

“Never let your pooch drink from a pond or lake with dead fish or animals in either, the water could be dangerously toxic and make your pet extremely ill with potentially fatal consequences.

“Symptoms of blue-green algae poisoning can occur very quickly – within 15 minutes to one hour of exposure – and even a small amount can be lethal to a dog, so it’s important to act quickly and contact your vet immediately.

“Signs to look out for include vomiting, twitching, seizures, diarrhoea, increased thirst, drooling, breathing difficulties, or a collapse.”

Nina Downing, PDSA

Anyone who spots blue-green algae when there are no signs to warn dog owners can report it to the Environment Agency on 0800 80 70 60.

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