Health Officials Remind Vermonters: Keep Pets Away From Blue-Green Algae

For immediate release:
October 2, 2002

News Media Contact:
Linda Dorey

BURLINGTON—Concentrations of blue-green algae are still being documented in St. Albans Bay and Missisquoi Bay, according to state health officials. In some cases, these algae blooms can release toxins such as microcystin or anatoxin.

Studies show that once the bloom starts to break up, the level of toxins in the water might initially increase , and then persist for several days to weeks before disappearing completely. Blooms also might persist with our continued warm fall weather.

“Our advice to pet owners has been to keep your dogs away from the algae,” said Dr. Bob Johnson, state public health veterinarian at the Health Department.

“If your dog does get into the water in an area where you have seen the algae, wash the dog off with clean water.”

Dogs are at risk if they eat the algae or drink the water in an area where a toxic algae bloom is taking place. They can also be poisoned by licking their fur after they have been in water that is thick with algae.

At least two dogs died in early September after ingesting water from Lake Champlain in the Missisquoi Bay area.