Two dog owners are raising awareness of the dangers of blue-green algae poisoning after their dogs died from swimming in a local pond, according to multiple reports.
Melissa Martin and Denise Mintz, two Wilmington, North Carolina residents were taking their dogs out for a swim in a nearby pond on Aug. 8, completely unaware of the toxic bacteria that resembled algae that existed in the water known as the blue-green algae, according to Daily Mail. Their three dogs, Abby, Izzy, two West Highland white terriers, and Harpo, a mix-breed poodle, all died on Aug. 9. CNN reported that Harpo was a therapy dog.
According to CNN, Martin did not realize the bacteria was in the water and only thought they were blossoms of cyanobacteria. Martin said that there were not any signs posted in the area warning them of the dangerous algae.
Martin realized something was wrong when one of the dogs, Abby, started having a seizure within 15 minutes after leaving the water, the news outlet reported. She quickly rushed the West Highland terrier to the veterinarian hospital, together in tow with both Izzy and Harpo. When they arrived at the hospital, her other dogs, Izzy and Harpo, had also started to have symptoms. Their health began to decline rapidly, and Harpo, the mixed-breed poodle began to experience symptoms of liver failure.
“Tonight, all 3 dogs were very bad off and it happened quickly. Abby started first followed by Izzy. I had already left the house with Abby, Nesie was going to give them a bath, so she washed Harpo (we thought Abby had been stung by something). Then Izzy started seizing. So the vet said to bring her and Harpo. By the time Nesie arrived (maybe 15 minutes later, Izzy was almost lifeless and Harpo was just beginning to seize),” she wrote in a Facebook post updating about her dogs.
The dogs, unfortunately, died the day after, and Martin provided an update regarding her dogs while they were in the hospital. According to the Facebook post update, it was a devastating moment for both the owner and her dying dogs.
Tonight, all 3 dogs were very bad off and it happened quickly. . Abby started first followed by Izzy. I had already left…
“The Westies were really out of it, constantly seizing and unable to breathe well, so we decided we would let them go together peacefully. In the process, Harpo started to go down hill soon after. They let us come in and see them,” the post read. Martin wrote that she was able to hold Harpo and talk to him before they let him go.
“Then they let me hold Harpo and talk to him and he just looked at me with tears in his eyes. He was so scared. The vet said that he was suffering and his chance of survival with no liver failure and internal bleeding was very low,” Martin wrote. “I talked to him and asked him to let me know. He did. I held him and told him how awesome he was, and reminded him of all the lives he touched. Then we let him go.”
Martin wrote, “Abby and Izzy had the most fun tonight chasing the ball and each other and rolling in the mud. What started out as a fun night for [the dogs] has ended in the biggest loss of our lives.”
The veterinarian told Martin that the cause of the dogs’ death was due to the bacteria inside the bond, which looked like algae—the blue-green algae bacteria.
“They contracted blue green algae poisoning and there was nothing they could do. We were gutted,” Martin wrote on her Facebook post. “I wish I could do today over. I would give anything to have one more day with them.”
Martin wrote about the incident on her Facebook page, devastated but determined to warn others about the bacteria.
“We will make sure every standing body of water has a warning sign,” she wrote, according to CNN. “I will not stop until I make a positive change. I will not lose my dogs for nothing.”
I had no idea this was going to be set up, but I can promise you every penny raised will be used to raise awareness and…
According to CNN, the algae are likely to be seen in fresh bodies of water during warm weather, and when waters are usually stagnant. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services wrote that dogs should stay away from the infested waters, as exposure to the toxic algae would result in death within 15 minutes, as in the case with Martin’s dogs. The warning applies to dogs who either enter the water or drink the algae infested water.