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Blue-green Algae: a Killer for Cats and Dogs

Blue-green algae is a killer for dogs and cats warn Lort Smith vets ...

Lort Smith vets are warning Victorians taking their pets on holiday to watch for fatally poisonous blue-green algae. 

Buddy, a Kelpie cross Blue Heeler, and Logan an Australian Cattle Dog cross fawn Dalmatian, arrived at Lort Smith Animal Hospital’s accident and emergency on Sunday after entering a pond during a supervised walk on their home property. 

“I was so scared. Both Logan and Buddy went from leaping around to stumbling, unable to walk properly in what felt like seconds,” said their carer, Lisa Westphal.

“By the time we reached Lort Smith, their back legs had completely collapsed. They both had to be carried in,” added Ms Westphal. 

Blue-green algae is a microscopic bacteria found in ponds, freshwater lakes, and other salty water ecosystems. 

The toxins produced can be poisonous to people, livestock and pets that swim or drink from the contaminated water. 

Visually, affected water can
 appear blue-green in colour. It might also look a little like green soup. 

It is difficult to determine which blue-green algae is toxic. Lort Smith vets recommend to treat all blue-green algae as potentially poisonous. It only takes a little exposure for it to produce fatal results if not treated immediately. 

“It’s really important to get your pet to a vet immediately” said Dr Leanne Pinfold, Head Veterinarian at Lort Smith. 

There is no antidote for blue-green algae poisoning, so immediate treatment to remove the toxins is essential. If left untreated it can be fatal within 24 hours,” warned Dr Pinfold. 

If you suspect your dog has been exposed to blue-green algae, Lort Smith’s accident and emergency is open from 8:30am till midnight every day of the year


Lisa Westphal and her dog Logan receiving
drip treatment at Lort Smith

Both Buddy and Logan were given drip treatment to remove the toxins. 

Unfortunately, Logan was more severely affected and had to have the toxins pumped from his stomach and undergo an enema. 

Victoria Emergency has issued a warning for blue-green algae in several areas throughout the state. 

Up to date information is available at: emergency.vic.gov.au



While Buddy has made a full recovery after treatment, Logan, has no permanent damage to organs and should make a full recovery in the coming days. 

About Lort Smith


Lort Smith is the largest not-for-profit animal hospital in Australia, delivering essential and life-saving services to sick, injured and vulnerable animals. Each year our team of more than 60 vets and 110 nurses provide quality care for around 25,000 animals. Lort Smith rehomes approximately 850 animals each year and operates a number of community outreach programs which have a significant social impact on the community. Lort Smith receives no ongoing government funding.

For more information, please visit www.lortsmith.com

MEDIA RELEASE, 8th April 2019

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