Interview with Dr. Sandra Morgan
Blue-green algae toxicity can become a serious problem in ponds and lakes as waters warm. Blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria, are actually bacteria that are capable of photosynthesis. These organisms can proliferate in our waters and release neurotoxins that become very dangerous to us and our animals. As their numbers increase, the water may appear scummy and stagnant. Animals that drink the water, or even just lick it off their fur, can be exposed. Depending on the amount of the toxin consumed, animals can show various signs of injury to the nervous system such as tremors, unconsciousness or death, and it can happen fast. If you’re animal has been exposed, immediately seek veterinary care. If you suspect waters of having high blue-green algae concentration, samples can be submitted to the Oklahoma Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory to determine toxin levels. The best practice is to avoid stagnant water, and keep your pets and livestock safe.