Dog owners are being warned about an invasive algae which is toxic to pooches.
The British Veterinary Association has issued the warning after the toxic blue-green algae was spotted in Hampshire in April.
It is said to grow in and around all bodies of fresh water – such as lakes, ponds and rivers – during the warm summer months.
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It has so far been found in more than 50 locations across the UK by owners taking dogs for a walk, who reported in on the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology’s Bloomin’ Algae app.
If a dog does come into contact with it, either by swimming in the water or just by brushing past it or drinking from a lake, it could suffer from vomiting, diarrhoea, drooling, disorientation, trouble breathing, seizures, and blood in their poo.
British Veterinary Association President Justine Shotton said: “Many dogs love nothing more than a paddle in a lake to cool off in this weather, but we’d urge pet owners to keep them on a lead during walks near water bodies confirmed to have algal blooms this summer.
"The majority of blooms are toxic and it is impossible to tell the difference visually, so it is better to be safe than sorry.
“It is also important to be aware of the symptoms of exposure. These commonly include vomiting, diarrhoea, drooling, disorientation, trouble breathing, seizures, and blood in faeces.
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"They can appear within a few minutes or hours of exposure, depending on the type of toxin ingested, and can cause liver damage and ultimately be rapidly fatal if left untreated.
“There is currently no known antidote for the toxins, so dog owners should seek prompt veterinary treatment to tackle their effects and ensure a good chance of recovery for their pet."
The BVA has issued advice about the issue and what to do to prevent your dog from eating it.
They advise that you keep pets on a lead and by your side around water bodies known or suspected to have a blue-green algal bloom – don’t let pets swim in it or drink from it, and if they have been, make sure they are cleaned afterwards.
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