Duck Dog Tip of the Week: Avoiding Blue-Green Algae

“If you’ve spent any time on social media this summer, you likely have heard the numerous horror stories of dogs dying as the result of blue-green algae poisoning. The technical term for the group of bacteria causing these issues is cyanobacteria, which is a group of bacteria that causes poisoning in animals, specifically acute liver failure. This year has been a perfect storm, with excessive spring and summer rains in many regions producing high levels of runoff, coupled with warm temperatures causing a high number of the dangerous blooms. The aqua-blue colored algae often looks like someone has dumped paint in the water versus the typical green algal blooms we see in late summer. The photo to the right shows the blue-green algae along with the more typical algae. The toxin in blue-green algae is highly fatal, so if you suspect your dog has come into contact with it, you will want to seek immediate veterinary care even if you didn’t see your dog drink any. This makes scouting very important. Know what the training water you are using looks like, as well as your early season hunting spots. It is important to note that the wind will often concentrate these blooms, so while the shore you are starting on may not be affected, you need to be aware of the water quality of the entire body of water prior to sending your dog on a retrieve.” — Dr. Joe Spoo