You might not swim in the pond at the park, but you might let your pet take a dip. Due to recent events, you might want to rethink letting your pet take a mid-afternoon swim.
Letting your pet cool off in the pond on a hot summer day might seem perfectly fine, but that water might not be as safe as you think.
In Wilmington, North Carolina two women took their 3 dogs to swim in a pond and play in the mud. Within minutes of leaving the pond, one of the dogs began having a seizure. By the end of the night, all three dogs had passed away and were the victims of blue-green algae poisoning, according to the dog owners. Several dogs have also reportedly died after swimming in an Austin, Texas lake believed to have been contaminated with toxic blue-green algae as well.
According to the North Carolina Health and Human Services, cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, are tiny microscopic plant organisms that live in water and is increasingly being found in freshwater throughout the state. The algae can affect people and animals, too, by causing skin and respiratory irritations, as well as producing chemicals that are toxic when untreated water is consumed.
“The presence or absence of a bad smell or taste is not a reliable indicator of the presence or absence of algal toxins in the water,” NCDHHS said.
The algae have also been blamed for killing at least four dogs across the Southeast has been found at Park Road Park in south Charlotte, Mecklenburg County announced Friday. Blue-green algae can release a toxin that could kill dogs and even young children, according to Mecklenburg County’s Water Quality Program Manager Rusty Rozzelle, “In most ponds, you do have algae bloom this time of year,” he said. “We find it in ponds every year, most ponds do have it. A lot of ponds probably have blue-green algae in it and people just don’t know.”
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services told NBC Charlotte that their crews are testing public ponds in the county for the bacteria. They are not testing private ponds.
Park Road Park is the first public pond in Charlotte to test positive, and the pond at Robbins Park in Cornelius had previously tested positive. Treatment options are being considered for Park Road Park and other infected waterways. Officials with the Town of Cornelius said they are treating the south pond at Robbins Park and advise people and pets to stay out.
Signs are being put up to warn people to keep themselves, their pets, and their children out of the water, so keep an eye out!
Intern / Lynleigh Betchan – The MRL Morning Show