CENTERVILLE, Iowa – The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is warning about a potentially toxic blue-green algae bloom at Rathbun Lake in southeast Iowa.
The Corps is warning pet owners to be especially vigilant because the toxins can cause serious illness and even death for dogs, who are highly susceptible if they drink contaminated water or eat dried algae along the shore.
Results from waters samples collected on August 7th from two beaches at the lake, Buck Creek and Island View, tested positive for the toxin microcystin, which is produced by the algae. The samples tested above the Iowa Department of Natural Resources threshold of 20 micrograms per liter of microcystin.
The two public beaches have been closed as a precaution but the marinas, lakeside businesses, and park camping facilities remain open.
The Corps says algae blooms are unpredictable and can develop rapidly. They also move around and can drift to other locations. If you find an area of water that is bright green and has a scum on top of the surface you should avoid contact with the water and keep pets away.
Reports from CNN say several recent algae blooms in the southeast of the country likely led to the deaths of four dogs.
In Wilmington, North Carolina, three dogs died after frolicking in a pond, while another succumbed after a swim in Lake Allatoona, Georgia. A common enemy likely caused the dogs’ deaths: liver failure brought on by ingesting water contaminated with toxic blue-green algae.
Symptoms your pet may have ingested contaminated water usually arise anywhere from 15 minutes to several days after exposure include diarrhea or vomiting, weakness or staggering, drooling, difficulty breathing and convulsions or seizures, the Environmental Protection Agency reports. Take your pet to the vet right away if you see these symptoms.