White Cross Vets, which has practices is Hyde and Sale, is warning pet owners to look out for the symptoms of a deadly dog poison which is on the rise this summer, and is caused by ingesting toxic blue green algae.

Vet Mike Robinson from White Cross Vets in Hyde, which is part of the Independent Vetcare group, said: “There has been a significant increase in blue green algae cases this year across our practices – 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, as it can be deadly if not treated.”

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 swallows it or even licks their fur after a swim.

Mike 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 several local parks and popular walking spots. Mike said: “The best advice is to keep your dog out of the water and on leads during walks near water and be vigilant. We would encourage owners to act fast if they suspect their dog has swallowed any contaminated water.

“Although vomiting helps get rid of the toxins from their stomach, we would also treat the dog with IV fluids to flush through toxins and give them an activated charcoal feed to bind any toxins left in the intestines.

“Fast treatment normally results in a full recovery, so we want to make sure dog owners know about the dangers and symptoms of this toxic algae.”