Allowing your pet to bathe is good, but be careful! the presence of cyanobacteria in water is a danger for dogs.
Indeed, these microorganisms are responsible every year for fatal poisoning in our four-legged friends. Thriving both in rivers and at sea, caution is required.
Jardiner Malin informs you on how to protect your dog.
What are cyanobacteria?
To begin with, cyanobacteria are particles that have been present on Earth for 2 to 3 billion years. Then they are found in plants, in water and in sand. Finally, they need light, heat and nutrients to survive, hence their presence in water in summer.
They represent a danger by producing toxins useful for their functioning which are in most of the times fatal for dogs. These are hepatotoxins (liver damage), dermatotoxins (skin problems) and neurotoxins (death from paralysis of the respiratory muscles).
In periods of high heat, cyanobacteria proliferate. And without heavy rain, they remain concentrated forming green or bluish layers on the surface of the water or spongy and black clumps at the bottom of the water.
Only water samples can determine which species of toxin infects a particular area.
How is the dog infected?
The dog is poisoned by cyanobacteria in three different ways:
- swimming in fresh or salt water.
- ingestion of contaminated water;
- or contact with a soiled surface.
Symptoms that alert
Clinical signs of poisoning appear a few minutes after contact with cyanobacteria. And their severity is associated with the nature and extent of the toxin released by the bacteria.
- The hepatotoxins results in vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, hepatic failure, haemostatic disturbances and hypersalivation.
- The dermatotoxins are responsible for irritation of the skin and mucous membranes.
- The neurotoxins cause the most serious symptoms such as paralysis, respiratory distress, seizures and death
How is cyanobacteria poisoning in dogs treated?
Unfortunately, no specific treatment exists. In the event of poisoning by hepatotoxins or dermatotoxins, the veterinarian relieves visible symptoms such as convulsions or diarrhea for example and encourages the dog to vomit.
In contrast, neurotoxin poisoning causes the dog to die quickly (in about 30 minutes).
Therefore, cyanobacteria are a real danger for dogs and prevention remains the only way to protect it.
How to protect your dog?
- On the surface of the water, all green or blue surfaces should alert you
- At the bottom of the water and especially in rivers, all spongy (they sometimes float on the surface) and black masses should be avoided.
- During your walks, bring water so as not to let your dog drink in questionable water points (cloudy with bluish reflections).
- Your dog should be kept on a leash in risk areas. In the event of a suspicious death reported, water samples are taken and analyzed and usually a sign prohibits swimming indicating the reason.
- Check with the town hall of your place of residence, the tourist office during your holidays or on the ARS website to find out the affected localities.
- Your dog's coat should be rinsed thoroughly after each summer swim.
Has your dog been driving at risk? Don't wait for the first symptoms! Take him immediately to your vet or to the veterinary emergency room. Reaction time is vital!