ROSEBURG, Ore. -- Oregon veterinarians are warning dog owners that blue-green algae blooms in lakes, ponds and rivers are a potential hazard as we get into the summer.
Blue-green algae in fresh water can produce toxins that cause acute illness and death in animals when swallowed.
Most algae are harmless, but cyano-bacteria (or blue-green algae), is capable of creating toxins that can make people and animals sick.
People and animals can be exposed to these toxins in several ways: through contact with bloom-affected water while wading or playing in the water, swallowing affected water when swimming or inhaling water droplets while enjoying high-speed activities like water-skiing.
Children, people with weakened immune systems and pets are most vulnerable to illness.
In each of the past two years, dogs in Oregon have become very sick and at least two have died, after swimming in and swallowing water affected by toxic algae.
Veterinarians say poisonings are most likely to occur during warm, sunny weather when algae blooms are more intense and dense surface scums are present.