Texas August 28, 2019
The Toxic Blue-Green Algae Responsible For Killing Dogs Around The U.S. Has Been Found In Texas
You’re probably already aware of the toxic algae phenomenon that rocked Austin earlier this month, but we may not be out of the woods just yet. This summer was the first time it made an appearance, but it likely won’t be the last. Here’s everything you need to know:
Earlier this month, four dogs mysteriously fell ill and later died after swimming in Austin's Lady Bird Lake. It was eventually determined that the pets ingested toxic blue-green algae, which two samples taken from Red Bud Isle tested positive for.
Algal blooms are typically a greenish color due to the organisms' photosynthetic pigments, but they can take on a variety of hues. These natural phenomena can be categorized as either freshwater or harmful.
Experts still aren't sure why the algae specific to Lady Bird Lake developed toxins this year, but they have a few hypotheses. An invasion of zebra mussels, flooding that increased sediment concentrations, fecal matter, and climate change - all of which were new issues to the water system - could have played a role.
While the exact species of bacteria has not yet been identified, Anatoxin has officially been deemed responsible for the canine fatalities. This compound is naturally occurring, but toxic to dogs and other mammals upon ingestion.
Dogs usually become symptomatic within minutes, but it can take up to several hours. Key signs are excessive drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, foaming at the mouth, bloody urine, jaundice, stumbling, loss of appetite, abdominal tenderness, and muscle twitches.
Fortunately, aquatic life has not been harmed by the toxin. None of the creatures in Austin waterways feed on the bacteria producing it, so the food chain is not affected.
Officials are testing Red Bud Isle and several other nearby bodies of water twice weekly to monitor toxin levels. While entering the lake is no longer prohibited, warning signs are still posted to ensure visitors exercise caution.
What are your thoughts about the toxic algae blooms reoccurring? Let us know, and don’t forget to read our previous article to learn more about this tragic phenomenon:
A Toxic Blue-Green Algae Bloom Has Killed 4 Dogs In Texas’ Lady Bird Lake This Summer.