Once again it’s that time of year when the algae is blooming and posing a serious threat to dogs, livestock, and people. Although we went swimming with the dogs last month at Martin Lake, as a rule of thumb I don’t put the dogs in the water during August and September. Depending on the summer, I sometimes extend that to July and October as well.
The algae isn’t restricted to the water and can end up on the shoreline in large mats when blown by the wind. According to Pet Poison Helpline, Microcystins can result in liver damage or failure. Signs of liver injury include vomiting, diarrhea, blood in stool or black, tarry stool, weakness, pale mucous membranes, jaundice, seizures, disorientation, coma, and shock. Death generally follows within days as a result of liver failure. Blood work changes include elevated liver enzymes, a low blood sugar, a low protein, and even abnormal clotting. Aggressive, immediate treatment is necessary to help treat this quick-acting, potentially fatal poison!
Something new and deadly that’s cropped up recently is circovirus, which I just became aware of from a Facebook friend. According to Cleveland.com, Symptoms included vasculitis (which is a destruction of the body’s blood vessels), severe vomiting, bloody diarrhea, fluid buildup around the lungs, as well as rapid heart rate and weakness.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC), reported that Before 2012, the only circoviruses reported to infect mammals were the 2 closely related porcine (pig) circoviruses. A 1-year old dog was taken to the University of California,Davis (UC Davis) Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital for vomiting and diarrhea. Despite the efforts, the dog’s health continued to decline until the owner had it euthanized and necropsy performed on it.
So as they say, forewarned is forearmed and hopefully this article will increase awareness to at least a couple of dangers you and your dog may encounter.