Blue-green algae have caused the tragic death of many dogs around the country, and New Mexico is not immune to the scary trends. Also known as cyanobacteria, blue-green algae is one of the largest and oldest groups of bacteria, and can be found in freshwater lakes, streams, ponds and brackish water ecosystems around the world. Multiple bodies of water in our state, and even in the Albuquerque area, have recently been reported to be contaminated by these toxic organisms. Both the New Mexico Department of Health Epidemiology and Response Division and the Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department have distributed safety warnings and tips to keep families aware of this outcropping of bacteria.
What pet owners need to be aware of, however, is that the blue-green algae can cause even worse ailments for their dogs. As evidence to the danger, the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department has provided a second resource specifically for dogs. Humans can be easier to warn and control than your four-legged family members, making it harder to stop your pet from swimming into water that is obviously contaminated. Plus, once a dog comes in contact with blue-green algae, it’s difficult to wash it all out of their fur, which can mean further exposure when it comes to the animal’s habitual self-grooming. Symptoms of exposure in pets can include excessive salivation, fatigue, difficulty breathing, vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures. Death can occur within hours to days of exposure.
While the above resources give us a lot of information about avoiding blue-green algae and what to do if contact is made, it would be best to play it safe and leave your pets at home if you plan to visit any bodies of water this time of year. Please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 505-265-4939 if you have any further questions or are worried about a pet’s potential exposure.