Dogs jumping into ponds can be killed by blue-green algae
On my experience of walking through Richmond Park, near London, dogs are positively enthralled about jumping into ponds and then coming out and shaking themselves dry and covering everybody in the vicinity with water. But there is a hidden hazard in British ponds and I guess ponds in other parts of the world. There is a particularly dangerous health risk during warm summer months when, according to the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, blue-green algae can produce toxic chemicals that are very harmful to the health of dogs and of course people who might also go into ponds.
A recent story highlight this. Jordan Shearman and Hannah May Washington were taking their beloved puppy Roo for a walk at Anton Lakes in Andover. They had been there previously and their dog had previously taken a swim in one of the lakes. They noticed that the water was dirtier than normal. Roo jumped in for a paddle and a swim.
As their walk progressed, they noticed that his eyes became a little droopy. They thought that he had got too much water in them. They returned to their car. On their way home they knew straight away that something was wrong. Roo became agitated and struggled to stand up. They diverted to Strathmore Veterinary Clinic.
Hannah held Roo in her arms as he had fits, struggled to breathe and foamed at his mouth. She describes the experience as the worst of her life. She told him that she loved him. She told him that Jordan loved him.
The journey to the veterinary clinic took 15 minutes during which time Roo had become pale and was not breathing on his own. His heart stopped and he passed away at 7 PM. Hannah said: “Our worst nightmare had officially happened, our precious, young, baby Roo had lost his life, so suddenly.”
Roo was the young couple’s first “child”. Yes, a child substitute but a beautiful one. She said that he was everything in their lives. She said: “Our lives, our habits, our plans, revolved around our lovely pup, and so I can’t even begin to describe the pain we are in.”
I can tell that the emotional pain that they felt was enormous. The hurt; to lose young animal you love in such tragic circumstances. They wanted to share their story and have spoken to news media outlets to do that. The local authority has issued a warning about blue-green algae in those lakes. They have asked dog owners to keep their dogs out of the water.
The cause of death has not been confirmed but it seems highly likely, almost certain, that it was caused by the algae and the council is working with the Environment Agency to test the water for toxins caused by blue-green algae.