Algae poisoning in dogs

Forgiftning af alger hos hunde

In the water we can find a lot of dead algae and toxins, which happens when the spring blooms. If you see large total amounts of toxins, neither people nor animals can bathe in the water. For several days after the toxins have been removed, they can be found in the water, so it is important to keep these toxins in mind.

Poisoning from algae

Poisoning occurs in 30 different species, as far as we know. It can be on the bottom or surface of brackish water, the sea or a freshwater lake. The poisoning or algae can also be multi-colored, a green, yellow-green or blue-green color that looks cloudy on the surface of the water. It is rare for a cat to be poisoned, as they instinctively do not want to bathe in water or drink from poisoned water. Dogs, on the other hand, like to bathe in water most often, which they can be poisoned by, as well as if they drink from the water.

Different types of poisons

It is very important to keep an eye out for whether your dog may be poisoned, as this can have fatal consequences and in some cases result in death. It may depend on the concentration of the poison in the water. There are several parameters that play a role in how poisoned your dog is. It depends on the size of the dog, how many toxins are in the water, what species it is and how widespread they are. In some cases, the algae produce hepatotoxicity, which is most often caused by the blue-green algae. This poison damages the liver, or more precisely the cells in the liver, which can cause liver failure. Sometimes the symptoms manifest themselves in breathing problems or problems with mobility, which can be caused by neurotoxins from the algae.

Symptoms in dogs

Different symptoms can occur depending on which species of algae is in the water and in what quantities the dog has absorbed the poisoning. At first, your dog will probably experience a bit of restlessness and uncertainty. Next, skin and mucous membranes can act to irritate the dog. After this, the more visible symptoms are such as vomiting or diarrhoea. Shortly after, your dog may show signs of weakness, difficulty breathing, poor coordination or convulsions. These symptoms can appear 15-60 minutes after the dog has consumed or bathed in the algae.

Can I do something myself in case of possible poisoning?

The easiest thing is not to let your dog bathe or drink from water where you suspect there is algae in it, as it cannot be seen from the color or texture whether there is toxic algae in the water. If your dog has been in the water and has algae on it, it is important to have the dog washed clean as soon as possible. Use gloves to remove these algae yourself, so you don't absorb poisons either.

When does a call to the vet occur?

If you start to suspect that your dog could have either drunk or bathed in water with toxic algae, you must see the vet. If your dog has ingested seaweed near an area with blue-green algae, you should also seek veterinary advice immediately.

How is poisoning treated?

Treatment against poisoning should be done as soon as there are signs of symptoms, at the vet. The vet will remove any algae by bathing the dog, after which the vet will induce vomiting if the dog has ingested the algae by drinking the water. In order to keep blood circulation and blood pressure up, and to prevent shock, the dog is also treated with intravenous fluids. In case of convulsions, anticonvulsant medication is given. With the help of blood tests, the vet can get an idea of what the overall picture looks like in the internal organs, especially the kidneys and liver. If the treatment is successful, the liver may simply have reduced function, which is why it is recommended to visit the vet for a check-up. It will probably also be recommended that your dog does not train or exercise until then. After this, your dog can be declared completely healthy if all blood tests are good.

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