KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A University of Tennessee assistant professor, Ivis Gore, is hoping to warn those who may take their dogs out for a swim at ponds or lakes about a type of algae that could potentially kill your furry friend.
Gore has a one-year-old Labrador who loves to swim. Elmer was doing what he loved at Tommy Schumpert Park when his owner noticed something in the water.
“When I got to the edge of the pond, I noticed this green scum over the water. It can be like a scum, a foam or almost like paint on the surface of the water, and I immediately knew it was algae,” Gore said.
After noticing the algae, Gore grew worried that her pet could have algae poisoning. Soon, a UT microbiology student tested the water and found that it had blue-green algae, which can be toxic to both dogs and people. It can be as early as 15 minutes to a few days to notice any symptoms in dogs.
Now, the pond is temporarily closed.
“I was immediately panicking, I took him out of the water, crying. I got him home, I called the vet, I asked them what to do, they told me to monitor him for symptoms,” Gore said.
Those symptoms can include weakness, diarrhea or vomiting. None of those or any others were shown by Elmer, leaving him still happy and healthy. Gore wants others to be aware of what to do if they’re found in a similar situation.
“Immediately get your dog away from that area, do not let them swim in that water, let other people in surrounding areas know,” Gore said. “Next, if you think that your dog has ingested algae, immediately call your vet.”
After tending to your pet, let park maintenance or other park staff members know about the algae, including the local health department so they can take proper measures.
“If you cannot come in contact with anybody at the local level, try to contact the state because this is very dangerous,” Gore said.
Gore also noted that not all algae are toxic, but it’s still important to notify someone so that the water can be tested.