Summertime isn’t safe for pets – we’ve already covered several news and articles on dogs dying oh heat in closed cars. That’s far from the only danger our four-legged friends face, however. For example, recently a 9-month-old Springer spaniel died in Scotland after eating poisonous blue-green algae from the banks of a river. The reason that’s a “summer problem” is that the hot weather and the lack of rain had caused the river to dry up and its banks to get covered with the algae that otherwise would’ve stayed in the water.
Mr. O’Connor, the dog’s owner and chairman of Glen Wyvis Distillery, Dingwall, said he took Bell – the poor spaniel – home but she became “dramatically sick” and had to be taken to the vets, where she died.
After that, he posted a picture of Bell on Facebook with the caption:
“Warning to all dog owners.
“We lost our pup today after she ate some blue/green algae at the river Conon.
“The falling river and hot weather has created a danger which sadly we were not aware of.
“All dog owners please be aware as this is such a tragedy for Bell and our family.”
Mr. O’Connor said: “We walked the dogs regularly along the river with no problem at all. Yesterday my son took them along the River Conon and came home.
“We could see right away that she was seriously ill. We took her round to the vets within five minutes and then she died.
“The whole episode from start to finish took about 30 minutes.”
He also added: “Because we have been getting no rain the river has been at a really low level and the algae has been left exposed which is very dangerous if it comes into contact with animals.”
Dr. Iain Muir, who is a vet working at Dingwall Veterinary Practice, also wrote on Facebook: “We had a young spaniel in the surgery today which less than half an hour earlier had been romping around on a walk with his owners.
“Now, despite the frantic attempts of vets and nurses to save [her she] lay dead on the clinic table. That’s how dangerous blue-green algae is.”
He added: “What was unusual in this case is that the dog was poisoned by algae from a river – it’s a problem usually associated with lochs where the water isn’t flowing and there’s a chance for it to build up.
“However, with rivers drying in the drought, flows are sluggish and the river-banks are getting coated in algae as the river level drops.
“There’s different sorts of blue-green algae – some aren’t that toxic and your dog may have encountered them without any problems.
“Others, like this one can kill in minutes, so don’t let past experience make you complacent.”