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
- HOT CARS This is one of the biggest health concerns during the warmer months. Animals should never be left in a locked car when it’s hot outside. Even if the window is open, temperatures can increase to extreme levels very quickly. As a result, pets suffer from heatstroke.
- PROTECTING YOUR PET’S SKIN Animals can get sunburnt too just like us! If they will be exposed to the sunlight, apply sun cream to white and pink areas of their skin and importantly the tip of the ears. Animals with lighter coloured fur will be more prone.
- FROZEN TREATS Animals will love to have something cool, so why not pop your dog’s Kong in the freezer for a nice cool and refreshing treat. You can also use frozen water bottles wrapped in a towel and pop it in their bed for our cats and small furries
- FLYSTRIKE Our smaller pets such as rabbits and guinea pigs can be more at risk more quickly in the hotter temperatures. To reduce the chance of flystrike, check around their bottoms for fly eggs or maggots. This should be checked at least once a day. There are preventative treatments for Flystrike which last around 6 weeks depending on the product.
- HAIRCUTS Those pets with thick fur coats, why not book them in with the groomer to help them feel cooler during the warmer weather.
- WALKING YOUR PETS We advise to walk your dog during the cooler times of the day such as early morning or late evening. If it is still too hot to walk them, give them a rest of the evening. It is safer for them to not have a walk than to be at risk of heatstroke
- WATCH OUT FOR GRASS SEEDS After walking your dog, it is a good idea to check their feet for any grass seeds. If these are left, they can track under the dog’s skin and cause swelling and lameness. They can also be found in dog’s ears!
- HEATSTROKE Signs to look out for include collapse, rapid panting, excessive drooling and sticky gums. Provide your pet with plenty of fresh, clean drinking water and provide a shaded area. If you are worried that you pet is suffering from heatstroke, please seek veterinary advice immediately.
- PROVIDING COOL AREAS Prevent your pet from sitting in direct sunlight, provide a shaded area and move hutches and cages if necessary.
Big Doggie Do is a canine focused festival with stalls, activities and dog shows including highlights like dog dancing displays, obedience demonstrations, and a dog show.
Thank you to everyone who popped along to say hi!
What is Alabama Rot?
Alabama rot is a disease which damages blood vessels within the kidney and skin. The disease causes blood clots to form in the vessels, damaging their lining and delicate tissues within the kidneys, and sadly can lead to kidney failure which can be fatal. It can also cause ulceration on the dog’s tongue. Alabama rot is also known as Cutaneous and Renal Glomerular Vasculopathy (CRGV), and was first detected by in the 1980s in the USA.
This disease is still very rare within the UK, and we advise dog owners to seek advice from their local vet if their dog develops unexplained skin lesions. Within a twenty mile radius of Milton Keynes, there has only been one confirmed case since 2014. However, if you are traveling with your dogs, areas of higher case records include Berkshire, Cornwall, County Durham, New Forest, Nottinghamshire, Norfolk, Surrey, Wiltshire, Worcestershire and Northern Ireland.
What causes Alabama Rot?
Unfortunately the disease can affect any dog of any breed, age or size, and the majority of cases have recently been walked in muddy or woodland areas.
There seems to be more cases reported during the months November to May than there is between the months of June to October, therefore winter and spring time is more dangerous to your dog.
What are the symptoms?
Most commonly, the skin lesions are seen below the knee or elbow, and are a symptom of the disease rather than being a wound from injury. There may be a patch of red skin or an ulcerated area, and there may be swelling around the lesion. In the following two to seven days, the affected dogs have developed signs of kidney failure, including vomiting, lethargy and reduced appetite. This disease will not be the only cause of skin lesions or kidney failure, often there will be another cause.
However, prompt diagnosis and treatment is imperative for any dog with Alabama Rot, but without knowing what causes the disease, it is also difficult for us to be able to give you specific advice on prevention or where to walk your dog.
How to prevent Alabama Rot?
We advise checking your dog over for skin lesions regularly and monitor for any signs as mentioned above. We also suggest bathing your dogs after their walks to remove any mud. Alabama rot is unfortunately not a disease we can vaccinate against at present, and it is not thought to affect cats or rabbits.
We will update this blog if any new information becomes available for this disease.
This month is a celebration of our animal friends. National Pet Month is a registered charity with the aim for promoting responsible pet ownership. They also aim to bring together pet lovers from all walks of life.
THE AIMS OF NATIONAL PET MONTH
- Promote responsible pet ownership
- Increase the awareness of the roles of pet care specialists
- Raise the awareness of the benefits of owning a pet
- Highlight the value of assistance and working companion animals