As spring time temps keep warming up, we are moving into the seasonal period when folks need to start watching out for problematic algae blooms. More specifically, toxic algae or cyanobacteria is becoming more widespread. Every year we are hearing of more reports of pets being lost, because their owners simply didn’t understand the risks associated with letting the animal swim or drink from an affected pond. This issue affects mostly dog owners, but really no animal is completely immune from the affects of toxic algae.
In the video below Vet Dr. Alex, discusses how to keep your pet safe from toxic algae and the various toxins that are produced by the cyanobacteria.
Unfortunately you cannot simply tell by looking at an algae bloom if it is toxic or not. Most algae in ponds is not. Also an algae may produce toxins at varied times, and not others, so the only way to now if a pond is safe is to test for the toxins themselves.
One commercial and affordable test kit that indicates the presence of up to 11 hepatoxins is this one from 5Strands Labs. It may give you a reasonable idea of the condition of the pond at the time of testing. Even with this in hand, I would suggest being very cautious about letting your pet near water with visible algae growth in it.