Veterinarians warn Texas pet owners to watch for toxic blue-green algae

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Lufkin, Texas (KETK)–Animal owners across Texas are on edge after hearing stories of family dogs dying shortly after being exposed to a certain type of algae.

Every summer people bringing their four-legged family members out for a swim is a common sight, but for several dog owners across the South it was the last happy memory they have of their pet.

That’s what happened to Brittany Stanton at a lake in Austin.

“They didn’t notice a bunch of algae floating where we were at,” said Brittany Stanton, whose dog died after being exposed to blue-green algae. “But it’s a lake, why would I know any different? I can’t tell toxic algae from not.”

Stanton’s beloved golden retriever collapsed and began having seizures just 30 minutes after leaving the lake.

“Blue-green algae cells as they die there’s a potential for them to release toxins called cyanotoxins and they’re harmful to human and animal health,” said Korin Doering of Renew Our Waters.

Here in East Texas, veterinarians are asking people to keep an eye out for this deadly plant.

“It is something that’s real and something that is out there, something that is actually out there in the water sources,” said Dr. Lindsay Syler, Veterinarian at Angelina Animal Hospital in Lufkin.

Dr. Syler says typically dogs ingest it, and the toxins immediately go to work.

“It affects their liver and produces a kind of toxin in their body and by the time you get them anywhere that toxin basically destroys the liver so much you don’t have any time to treat it,” said Dr. Syler

The toxins work so quickly that even immediate treatment may be useless.

“Even with all of our efforts with oxygen, fluid therapy and anti-seizure medications and all that kind of good stuff it can still kill them right away,” Dr. Syler said.

Check the water before you let your dog drink or swim this summer, and if you’re unsure experts suggest you just stay out.

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