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Toxic Blue Green Algae Caution – Pets and Humans

We've had unusually warm weather recently. This information was published in last winter's newsletter, and it bears repeating now. We believe we have seen blue-green algae on Deer Lake already this spring.


Last year Mirror Lake experienced what was identified as a short outbreak of toxic blue green algae in late July/early August. A family pet became sick and was rushed in and promptly diagnosed by a local vet with the effects. Sadly, there was no recourse but to euthanize the pet. The family requested that the DLWA spread the word to minimize the possibility of any further heartbreaking episodes from happening in the future.

The dog developed the symptoms within one day of arriving at the lake. After one day the dog was in a life-threatening situation. The dog appeared confused/drunk and was limping continuously. The dog became lethargic and diagnosed with massive amounts of white blood cells and clostridium in her stool. Liver enzymes were through the roof. The vet stated that her pancreas was shutting down and he couldn’t regulate her blood sugars, and right before the dog arrived at the vet she had a seizure.

Process of elimination, the vet felt the dog was exposed to toxic blue green algae. The owners have been coming up to this lake since 1970’s. Haven’t been aware of or ever seen it.

The owners were very concerned for others and their pets and have reached out to the DNR, the SWDC as well as to our Deer Lake Watershed Association.

They stated, we don’t want to see what happened to us happen to anyone else and definitely want to assure we are going about this the correct way to assure everyone is informed, aware and safe.

The toxic algae can appear within days during extremely hot weather, which we experienced in July and August last summer. The hot weather, in combination with heavy rain, which we also experienced can result in high water that pulls in nutrients or raises the level of phosphorus in the water. The heat and extra nutrients in the water are the two main ingredients and catalyst. The toxic algae can disappear as fast as it appeared. It’s best to keep the water, creeks and lakes always flowing.

If anyone believes their pet might be affected, bring them in immediately to a veterinarian. This article is meant to be a general information article only. Further questions or concerns should be directed to your veterinarian, DNR or SWCD personnel. You may also Contact the MPCA’s Water Quality Monitoring Line (651-757-2822) with questions about toxic blue-green algae. Their website also has a wealth of information.

https://www.pca.state.mn.us/water/blue-green-algae-and-harmful-algal-blooms