Sheffield pet owners warned to be vigilant after outbreak of deadly dog disease in city
A Sheffield vet is warning dog owners to be vigilant after treating a rare case of toxic blue green algae at its Handsworth practice.
White Cross Vets treated Indie, a black flat coated retriever who turns one next month, for the deadly disease after he became lethargic and lost his co-ordination.
Indie’s owner Rachel Sharratt said: “We had been on our normal daily walk in the woodland and fields behind my house in Handsworth, with my other dog Blue and my sister’s dogs.
“After a couple of hours at home I noticed something was amiss with Indie.
“He was really glazed, unresponsive and his back end was really uncoordinated. He is a young puppy with plenty of energy, even after a walk, so I knew something was not right so we quickly got Indie to the vets.”
Vet Rebecca Verity said: “There has been a significant increase in possible blue green algae cases this year – and its seems to be happening earlier than other years too – which may be due to the spells of very warm and very wet weather we have had. These cases are usually extremely rare, so it’s a big concern.”
Blue green algae blooms can appear as green or greenish-brown scum on the surface of water and can contain toxins that are very harmful to dogs. Even a small amount from a contaminated lake, river or pond can have a severe impact if a dog drinks from a contaminated source or even licks their fur after a swim.
Rebecca added: “It’s nasty and difficult to diagnose with 100% certainty – the only way to do that is with a post mortem, but the symptoms include everything from vomiting and diarrhoea, to drooling, disorientation, breathing trouble, seizures, blood in faeces, tremors, dizziness and a lack of muscle use.
“These can start to appear almost immediately, or develop over a few hours, depending on the type of toxin ingested. If left untreated, it can result in neurological problems, liver issues and death.”
Signs warning about the dangers of blue green algae are becoming more common and can be seen in places like Rother Valley County Park. There have been a number of suspected cases of blue green algae toxicity by other vets in the Sheffield area over the last few months.
Rebecca said: “The best advice is to keep your dog out of the water and on leads during walks near water.
“Also be vigilant, Indie’s owner acted fast and that’s why he made such a good recovery.
“We treated him with IV fluids to help flush through toxins that had already been absorbed, and gave him an activated charcoal feed to bind any toxins left in the intestines.
“Indie had already vomited at home, which will have helped him get rid of the toxins from his stomach. We carried out blood tests to check for organ damage and monitored him over night.
“Luckily Rachel’s instincts and quick action meant that Indie made a full recovery, but we want to make sure other dog owners know about the dangers of this toxic blue green algae, which is very difficult to spot.”
Rachel added: “Indie somehow managed to ingest the algae despite the other five dogs being fine. It shows how difficult it is to prevent something like this from happening, so I would really like to urge other dog owners to be aware of the symptoms and encourage them to just always go to the vet to be of the safe side.”