Photo: WINK News

Dog owners concerned about pet health amid algae, red tide

With increasing concern about the blue-green algae in our waters, families are bringing their dogs into the vet with some scary symptoms and fear the algae is to blame.

Jim Collier and his dog Scout take boat trips together on a regular basis.

It wasn’t until recently that he noticed Scout was having trouble breathing.

“She’s always been healthy and once we escaped it she was back to normal, but pretty much everybody on the boat, all five people plus her were coughing,” Collier said.

Veternarian Arylene Salcedo at Kindness Animal Hospital in Cape Coral quickly treated Scout and other dogs with similar symptoms, suspecting toxic algae.

“There’s no antidote and there’s no specific treatment. It’s IV fluids and support,” Salcedo said.

While little information is out there on toxic algae health effects, Salcedo says it can cause some scary symptoms in pets.

“There could be GIS signs and neurological signs: vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, tremors, twitching, convulsions, stumbling and even death,” she said.

Thankfully Scout is happy and healthy again, but dog owners like Collier worry about long-term effects, especially after reports of a dog death in Martin County.

Salcedo says the best prevention is to just stay away from toxic water.

“Keep your dog and pets away from the algae,” she said. “If they’re having any trouble breathing or if you are, immediately remove yourself. Don’t even go to the places that you know where the algae will be. Also don’t let your dog dig at the beach, eat dead fish.”

Salcedo also says she’s seen similar symptoms in animals who have been exposed to red tide.

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