Algae blooms in Kansas pose threats for pets

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WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Currently, 22 Kansas ponds and lakes have an algae warning or watch placed on them. Experts advise people to not come into direct contact with the water.

For pets, the warning is harder to heed.

“There’s no way you can really avoid having your lab drink some of that lake water and it’s always better to play it safe rather than sorry,” Dr. Kayd Byers at Companion Animal Hospital said.

Dr. Byers explained that harmful algae can affect your dogs in one of two ways. Both are harmful and potentially fatal.

“One produces a neurotoxin as it’s name implies, those can result in seizures, collapse and sudden death. Other ones can be tremors, vomiting and usually staggering around the house. Those usually present within 15 to 20 minutes of ingestion,” Byers said.

The other toxin is a liver toxin that can take days to show up but can cause liver disease or liver failure.

“So that can be signs of lethargy, just not having enough energy, vomiting, diarrhea and it too can progress to death,” Byers said.

With Labor Day approaching, Byers encourages checking for warnings ahead of time before taking your dog to the lake. For a complete list of Kansas lakes and ponds with algae warnings, click here.

Sedgwick County’s Lake Afton is on the list, as well as Camp Hawk Lake in Harvey County.

For dog owners Charlie and Sue Breitenbach, the standing water in culverts around their Reno County property have limited their dogs on play.

“Too many risks. We have a pond we don’t let them out in it because of the algae on it,” Sue said.

Her 2-year-old German Shepard, Sheba, has had to find other ways to entertain herself since the family has spent no time at nearby lakes with the dogs this summer.

“We usually take the dogs with us. We usually let them out on the boat, let them go fishing. They get out in the lake and they swim but not this year with all the green algae,” Sue said.

As Dr. Byers said, it is better to play it safe than sorry and not allow your dogs to swim in algae-contaminated waters.

RELATED LINK | National stories detail dogs dying after swims in Texas, North Carolina and Georgia

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