Blue-green algae – Ashland Lake
Following water safety checks at Ashland Lake this week (week commencing 23rd July 2018), a potentially toxic bloom of blue-green algae has been reported to the Environment Agency.
What are blue-green algae?
As a precautionary measure, notices are being posted at the lake warning that contact with the algal scum should be avoided.
Blue-green algae naturally occur in inland waters and blooms can form when their numbers become excessive. It is these ‘blooms’ that give the water a blue-green appearance or a ‘pea soup’ like colour. The behaviour of these algae is erratic and the level of its toxicity can fluctuate; it can appear one day, be dispersed by the wind and, mix and re-accumulate at any time.
How can blue-green algae affect you and your animals?
Blue-green algal blooms can produce toxins hazardous to both people and animals. Not all blue-green blooms produce toxins, but it is not possible to tell which are dangerous without testing, and therefore all blooms should be considered potentially toxic. Dogs that enjoy swimming and playing in lakes and ponds may be exposed to blue-green algae.
Symptoms of poisoning include:
- Blood in stool or black, tarry stool
- Pale mucous membranes
- Excessive secretions (e.g., salivation, lacrimation, etc.)
- Neurologic signs (including muscle tremors, muscle rigidity, paralysis, etc.)
- Blue discoloration of the skin and mucous membranes
- Difficulty breathing
Andre Cilliers BVSc (Pretoria) GPCert(SAM) MRCVS I joined the practice in 2002 after qualifying for the University of Pretoria and became a partner in 2012. I hold a ESPV General Practice Medicine Certificate and have a keen interest in Feline Medicine. I work mostly between the Walnut Tree hospital and our Stoke Road branch, where I hold Cat Only Clinics on Tuesdays. I have three cats Bobbi, Marco and Ludi - possibly the best cats in the world.