DOG owners have been warned about toxic algae growing in popular walking spots which can kill pups.
Frighteningly, blue-green algae can’t always be seen by the naked eye, although it can appear as vividly-coloured scum or foam in stagnant water.
Dogs can die while humans will vomit if they ingest toxic blue-green algae, which can appear in stagnant waterCredit: Getty
In the summer of 2021, a dog was killed at a Scottish loch after swimming in poisoned waterCredit: Alamy
Vets have urged owners to keep an eye out during walks to ponds, lakes and reservoirs – although it can also form in garden pots, bird baths and fountains.
If ingested by a dog, it can quickly cause liver failure.
A woman living in Birstall, Leicestershire has taken to Facebook to tell pet owners of a sighting at Watermead Park, a huge a network of artificial lakes to the north of Leicester.
She said she spotted just one warning sign of the naturally-occurring algae during her visit.
Carl Mcneil, 56, told LeicestershireLive he walks his three dogs around the country park a few times a week.
He said: “We’re concerned about the algae but we know about it.
“We keep our dogs on their lead when we’re near the water.”
He said more signs alerting owners to the algae go up in the summer months, when warm conditions mean it’s more likely to be a problem.
Another dog walker said: “I haven’t seen any signs around, but I keep my dog on a lead and she doesn’t go near the water.”
Leicester City Council’s visitor guide warns people not to use the lakes.
The guidance on the city council website says: “Do not swim in any of our lakes or ponds, nor let your dog(s) swim.
Meanwhile, in the summer of last year, visitors were told not to swim in Loch Earn, Perthshire, after the algae was spotted.
Elsewhere, one dog died and another was left seriously ill after being poisoned by the bacteria in Loch Eck, Argyll and Bute.
Although the algae isn’t always visible, it can appear as green flakes or bundles, or brown dots.
It can then bloom to look like scum on the surface of the water.
Animal charity Blue Cross describes it as looking like “pea soup”.
Signs a dog has been poisoned include vomiting, lack of appetite, excessive drooling, confusion and disorientation and muscle tremors or seizures.
Vets don’t have a specific antidote for blue-green algae, but use treatments including oxygen therapy and a drip.
Experts at Vets4Pets said owners should never ignore warning signs or news reports about the toxin.
They shouldn’t let their animals swim in or drink from water they think could be contaminated.
Dogs should be rinsed off after swimming.