What are cyanobacteria and harmful algal blooms?
Cyanobacteria (also called blue-green algae) and algae can form harmful algal blooms (HABs) in lakes, ponds, and rivers. Many HABs produce toxins that can harm animals and people. The water may have a scum or be discolored (e.g., green, blue, yellowish, red, or brown). Some blooms may occur along the bottom of the waterbody or become detached and float to the surface or along the shoreline. A visual factsheet is available to help the public identify HABs.1 To learn more, visit the California HABs Portal.2
How can dogs be exposed to HABs?
How can I keep my dog safe from HABs?
What are signs of possible cyanobacterial toxin poisoning in dogs?
Animals can experience symptoms within minutes to days following exposure to the toxins. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, difficulty breathing, seizures, or death. In 2017, there were 18 reported dog deaths from suspected HAB-related exposures in California.
If your pet experiences these symptoms after exposure, contact your veterinarian immediately. A veterinarian fact sheet on diagnosis and potential treatment is available.3 For additional assistance, contact the 24-hour ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center hotline at (888) 426-4435. A $65 consultation fee may be applied.
How can I report a suspected bloom or potential HAB-related illness?
Please report any suspected HAB or potential HAB-related illness using the online report form2, by calling (844) 729-6466, or by emailing CyanoHAB.Reports@waterboards.ca.gov.