How long does it take for blue green algae to affect dogs? Essential Tips

Can people get blue green algae poisoning?

Yes, blue green algae toxins can affect humans. If you or someone you know has come into contact with blue green algae, contact your doctor or the NHS for advice.

How to spot blue green algae

Blue green algae tends to grow in stagnant/slow-flowing water such as ponds, streams and lakes. It can be very difficult to spot, so keep an eye out for:

  • Green/blue scum on the water’s surface
  • Green/blue streaks in the water, which can look a bit like paint
  • Green or brown clumps floating on the surface, that look a bit like seaweed
  • Cloudy water with a green/blue/brown appearance.
  • Green flakes or brown dots
  • Foaming on the shore’s edge, which can look a bit like sewage
  • Warning signs
  • Dead fish/wildlife in the water
  • Blue green algae poisoning can take anything from 15 minutes to a few days to develop. They are often vague and include:

    Call your vet immediately if you your dog has been exposed to blue green algae – the sooner they get treatment the better their chance of survival.

  • Don’t let your dog lick their fur, the more toxins they take in, the worse their poisoning will be
  • Rinse them with clean water as soon as possible
  • Call your vet
  • Once your dog is at the vets their treatment may include:

  • Thorough cleaning to remove any toxins from their fur.
  • Toxin removal – your vet might need to make your dog sick and give them a charcoal meal to absorb any toxins remaining in their stomach.
  • Intensive care – if your dog has already developed symptoms of poisoning, they are likely to need intensive care, which may include a fluid drip, medicines, close monitoring and blood tests.
  • The quicker your dog gets treatment, the better their outlook, but unfortunately blue-green algae toxins act very quickly, and are often deadly. Sadly, even with the best care, some dogs die from blue green algae poisoning.

    What are the signs of blue-green algae poisoning?

    The types of toxins produced by blue-green algae may vary, and so can their effects. These effects can range from dribbling, tiredness, vomiting and diarrhoea (both of which may be bloody) to effects on the heart and blood pressure, convulsions, problems breathing or organ failure. Signs often start within an hour, but may occur within a few minutes, or can sometimes be delayed by a few days. Many cases are life threatening and dogs can die very quickly.

    What makes blue-green algae so dangerous for dogs?

    You may have never heard of blue-green algae toxicity in dogs before, but its a real health threat in the summer and fall and during times of drought. Learn more about this toxic condition, how to spot a contaminated water source, and how to keep your dog safe.