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LONDON - JUNE 7: A dog fetches a stick as he swims in a lake to cool down in Hyde Park on June 7, 2004 in London, England. Summer weather has arrived in Britain, with very warm and sunny conditions prevailing in London and temperatures reaching the high twenties. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Ever take your dog to a lake to go swimming?

We’re not saying to stop such activities with your furry friend, but some new research suggests taking caution when going to natural waters.

Some lakes in Maryland bloom algae which have been found to be fatal to dogs, and harmful to swimmers. Algae blooms are fairly common in Maryland lakes and even in the Chesapeake Bay.

In other states, algae has been the cause of death to a number of swimming pets. The toxins produced by the algae blooms cause bacterial infections in dogs and swimmers.

Microcystin, which is the bacteria produced by the algae is a hepatotoxin. Which ultimately can cause harm to the liver of humans and pets if ingested.

Be cautious to your dog even if they aren’t swimming, because as all us pet-owners are aware, dogs love to sniff and slurp up anything they can find. Drinking the water can be very dangerous.

 

If you do happen to spot a blue-green algae bloom, avoid the water.

  • Do not swim or wade through algal scums
  • Do not boat, water ski, jet ski, or fish where algal scum is present
  • Always shower off with soap and water after swimming in a lake, river, or pond
  • Do not let dogs drink, eat, or lick algal scum off their fur
  • Wash your dog off with clean water immediately if your dog swims or wades in water during an algal bloom.

Marylanders are asked to report algae blooms and any health problems from them to the Maryland Department of Health toll-free at (866) 703-3266, or your local county health department.