Posted by: Vicki Burns | June 17, 2015

Threats from Blue-Green Algae Not Always Obvious

Jess Enjoying a Boat ride, Winnipeg River

Jess Enjoying a Boat ride, Winnipeg River

I was dismayed to receive this Channel 5 ABC news piece from Minnesota that describes the death of a dog from  ingesting toxins from blue-green algae in Red Rock Lake in Minnesota. The most concerning thing about this news is that the owner of the dog describes the lake water as being very clear (no apparent blue-green algae present) which is why she felt it was safe to let her dog play in the water. The dog apparently started having seizures within half an hour of being in the water and died on the way to the veterinarian’s clinic.
I consulted with an algal taxonomist who suggests that what  might have been present is Anabaena, a genus of Cyanobacteria  which can produce both Microcystins and anatoxins ( neurotoxins).With the dog becoming so severely ill so quickly it was probably a neurotoxin that he ingested.  Apparently it is not difficult to test the waters to see if any of the neuro toxin producers are present. However at this point I don’t think there is any testing being done in Manitoba or northwestern Ontario .
I have asked both Manitoba Water Stewardship and Ontario Ministry of the Environment whether they are conducting any tests  and I will report back on any responses I get. I don’t want to be fear-mongering but as a dog owner I understand how devastating it would be to lose a beloved pet in this way. I think we are going to have to push for more significant monitoring of our lakes to ensure the safety of our waters, for humans and animals.



  1. Thanks for your details and explanations..I want more information from your side..I Am working in Distributor Aquafina In Chennai.

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