DENVER – Dog walkers should make sure their pets avoid the water at Sloan’s Lake after Denver public health officials detected potentially deadly blue-green algae blooms at the popular spot this week.
The Denver Department of Public Health and Environment (DDPHE) has already posted signs warning people not to let their pets drink or play in the water, after tests came back positive for the toxin.
The blue-green algae can poison not only dogs, cats, livestock, wildlife, birds, and fish, but also humans, causing neurologic problems and liver failure, leading to death, city health department officials said in a news release.
Water containing the toxic algal blooms look like pea-green paint or slime on the surface, the DDPHE said, adding the algae typically develops when the weather has been warm (over 75 degrees) and sunny. Toxic algae also often stink, sometimes producing a nauseating smell that attracts animals, officials said.
What to do if your dog comes into contact with the blue-green algae
If your dog gets into a harmful bloom, health officials advise that you rinse your pet off immediately with fresh, clean water. If you come contact with the bloom, immediately wash with soap and water.
If your pet has been poisoned by the algae, it’ll show symptoms anywhere from 15 minutes to several days, including diarrhea or vomiting, weakness or staggering, drooling, difficulty breathing and convulsions or seizures, city health officials say.
Pets can die within hours of consuming the algae and people can get sick and experience symptoms including a headache, diarrhea, weakness, and liver damage, they added.
While fishing is still allowed at Sloan’s Lake, DDPHE officials urged people to rinse fish well and discard the guts.
The DDPHE said they believe the algae blooms will remain in the lake for at least another month or until temperatures start to cool.