Toxic Algae Advisories: Dexter Reservoir, Willow Creek Reservoir
Health advisories for toxic algae levels have been issued for the following bodies of water in Oregon:
- Dexter Reservoir, located 20 miles southeast of Eugene on Oregon Highway 58 in Lane County7.3.13
- Willow Creek Reservoir, located just east of the town of Heppner in Morrow County 6.18.13
- Lost Creek Lake, located 30 miles northeast of Medford on the Rogue River in Jackson CountyLIFTED 7.5.13
Be on the lookout for waters that look suspicious, foamy, scummy, thick like paint, pea-green, blue-green, or brownish red. Only a fraction of Oregon’s water bodies are monitored, so when in doubt, stay out!
Children and pets are particularly susceptible to this toxin
Exposure to toxins can produce symptoms of numbness, tingling and dizziness that can lead to difficulty breathing or heart problems and require immediate medical attention. Symptoms of skin irritation, weakness, diarrhea, nausea, cramps, and fainting should also receive medical attention if they persist or worsen. Children and pets are particularly susceptible.
Swallowing or inhaling water droplets should be avoided, as well as skin contact with water by humans or animals. Drinking water from these bodies of water is especially dangerous. Oregon Public Health officials advise campers and other visitors that toxins cannot be removed by boiling, filtering or treating the water with camping-style filters.
Oregon Public Health recommends that people who choose to eat fish from waters where algae blooms are present should remove all fat, skin and organs before cooking since toxins are more likely to collect in these tissues. Additionally, public health officials advise that people should not eat crayfish or freshwater shellfish harvested from these bodies of water while this advisory is in effect.
A hazard for dogs
Dogs have become very sick and even died after swimming in and swallowing water affected by toxic algae. If you find thick, brightly colored foam or scum at a lake, pond, or river, don’t let your pet drink or swim in the water.
If your dog goes into the water:
- Don’t let your pet lick its fur
- Wash your pet with clean water as soon as possible
- If your dog has symptoms such as drooling, weakness, vomiting, staggering, or convulsions after being in bloom-affected water, call your veterinarian immediately.
Blue-Green Algae: Hazard for Dogs
Blue-green algae toxin poisoning, also known as cyanobacterial poisoning, is an acute, sometimes fatal condition caused by the ingestion of water containing high concentrations of cyanobacteria.
In Oregon, dogs have become very sick-and some have died-after swimming in and swallowing water affected by toxic algae.
Poisonings are most likely to occur during warm, sunny weather when algae blooms are more intense and dense surface scums are present. If you find thick, brightly colored foam or scum at a lake, pond, or river, don’t let your pet drink or swim in the water.
Children and pets are particularly susceptible to blue-green algae. Exposure to blue-green algae can result in:
- Difficulty breathing
- Skin irritation
- Diarrhea, nausea, and cramps
- Heart problems
If Your Dog Does Go in the Water
- Don’t let your pet lick its fur.
- Wash your pet with clean water as soon as possible.
- If your dog shows symptoms such as drooling, weakness, vomiting, staggering, or convulsions after being in bloom-affected water, call your veterinarian immediately. Acute, life-threatening symptoms from cyanobacterial toxins often develop rapidly. Death can occur within 4 to 24 hours after exposure.
Treatment is primarily supportive in nature. Your veterinarian may administer activated charcoal slurries to absorb the cyanobacterial toxins from the gastrointestinal tract. Because the toxins are excreted rapidly from the body within a few days, animals that survive the initial tissue damage have a good chance for recovery.
Pet owners are encouraged to report suspected toxic algae illness in their dogs to Oregon DHS at (971) 673-0440. Illness reports are an important tool for public health to assess the severity of environmental problems.
Know Before You Go
Oregon’s Harmful Algae Bloom Surveillance program provides updates to the public regarding bodies of water that are experiencing blue-green algae blooms. We (OVMA) also post advisories on this Web site and our social networking feeds: Twitter and Facebook.
(Article from Oregon Veterinary Medical Association website)
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