TRIRE AREA. After a relatively mild spring, Germany is expecting its first heatwave of the year with “David” rising. The resulting warm water temperatures not only delight many swimmers, but also cause blue-green algae to grow in lakes and burst bathing water.
What many people don’t know: Blue-green algae are not algae at all, but are called cyanobacteria, which generally occur in very low concentrations in all water bodies. However, if bacteria multiply greatly and excrete toxic substances in the water due to high temperatures and solar radiation, They are extremely dangerous to humans and animals – dogs die every year because they drank from or bathed in contaminated water. PETA Specialist Jana Hoger explains to animal companions how to identify blue-green algae, what are the effects of blue-green algae poisoning and what precautions should be taken to avoid negative consequences.
“If the standing water is greenish turbid or has a green sticky membrane, animals are not allowed to drink or swim in the water”, says Jana Hoeger. “The poison in blue-green algae can cause severe liver damage or liver failure. In the worst case, four-legged friends can die from cyanobacterial poisoning.”
Beta gives advice:
- Pay attention to the ban on bathing: dogs that love to swim are especially at risk. Many municipalities warn swimmers when bodies of water reach a high concentration of blue-green algae or completely prevent entry to bathing areas.
- Carefully check: Even when no official warning has been issued, people with animals should check bodies of water very carefully in the summer for infestations of blue-green algae, and if in doubt, they should not go into the water. In addition to green streaks or a green-blue carpet on the water, the smell of ammonia, rotten eggs and liquid manure are warning signals.
- Enter other gas rolls: In order not to lure the animals in the first place, it is advisable to stay away from stagnant water during the period of the so-called blue-green algal bloom (rapid reproduction of bacteria), which occurs in particularly sunny and warm areas days from 30 ° C.
- leash dogs: To be on the safe side, people who have dogs should leash their four-legged friends near lakes, ponds, rivers, and slow-flowing streams in the summer.
- Washing dogs after bathing in bodies of water: Blue-green algae can also be absorbed through the fur when brushing animals. Therefore, dogs should be rinsed well with clear water after swimming in a lake, pond or pond.
- Always keep fresh water with you: People who have dogs should always have a bottle of fresh water with them when they go for a walk, in order to offer the animal something to cool down and drink, especially on hot days, or to rinse the fur briefly when in doubt. .
Symptoms of blue-green algae poisoning:
Poisoning animals with blue-green algae They suffer from lethargy, weakness and confusion. they have Paleness of the mucous membranes, increased salivation and increased secretion of tears appear. Muscle twitching, muscle stiffness, paralysis, seizures, shortness of breath and even loss of consciousness, vomiting and diarrhea can also occur. As soon as poisoning is suspected, a veterinarian should be immediately consulted – There is a danger to life.
Blue-green algae poisoning is also very dangerous for cats, horses, and birds. Once the animals poison themselves, the course of the disease is tragic and ends in death in many cases.
In humans, a high concentration of cyanobacteria can cause severe irritation of the mucous membranes, headache, diarrhea, vomiting, rash, or shortness of breath.
Blue-green algae are the oldest living organisms on Earth, they produce oxygen and are found in every ecosystem. In addition to warm temperatures, providing nutrients in the water also promotes their growth. Substances such as phosphorous and nitrogen are pumped into lakes and rivers, mainly through sewage treatment plants and agriculture.