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Blue-green algae particularly harmful to dogs

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Thursday, July 25, 2013, at 9:49 a.m.

With algae blooms in the news recently in Kansas, a toxicologist at Kansas State University is warning that people, including those with pet dogs, need to take the threat of poisoning seriously, the university said in a statement Thursday.

Blue-green algae make toxins dangerous to people and potentially fatal to dogs, Deon van der Merwe, associate professor of diagnostic medicine and pathobiology, said in the university statement.

Blue-green algae, a cyanobacteria, grow in lakes, ponds, and wet soil or rocks, he said in the statement.

Van der Merwe manages the toxicology section of the Kansas State Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. He said the algae grow when water has excess nutrients. The blooms and discolored water and scum that go with it can last from days to weeks, the statement said.

Humans usually suffer from rashes and other irritations, but the algae can kill dogs, producing the toxin microsystin, which attacks the gastrointestinal tract and liver, van der Merwe said.

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