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What are Lake Water Dangers?

There are several water dangers that you should be aware of before letting your dog go swimming this summer. Blue-green algae, parasites, bacteria, and saltwater toxicity all present dangers to your dog. Each one of these has the potential to make your pet sick: it is best if you check the water wherever you plan to let your dog swim or play. Just swallowing a little bit of blue-green algae can be fatal to your dog. Do not let your dog go near any body of water that looks greenish-blue, olive green, or red.

Parasites and bacteria are common occurrences in lakes and ponds. The three most common are cryptosporidium, giardia, and leptospirosis, all of which can cause intestinal upset, abdominal pain, and vomiting, to name a few. Saltwater is also dangerous if your dog decides to drink it while swimming, so be sure to bring along plenty of fresh water for your companion to drink while you are at the beach. Saltwater toxicity causes hypernatremia, which is an electrolyte abnormality that presents as vomiting, instability, and seizures.

Lake water dangers can range from drowning to illness, but the most common are from blue-green algae, parasites, bacteria, and saltwater toxicity. Drinking or inhaling a small amount of water from a contaminated water source can cause symptoms as mild as abdominal pain or signs serious enough to be fatal. Always check the condition of any lake or pond you let your dog play in beforehand. If the water looks cloudy, dirty, off-colored, or has a funny smell, do not take the chance. Your dog may be disappointed, but it is better than what could happen if you allow it.

Another sign of a potential problem with the water is dead fish. If you see dead fish floating on the surface, do not go near it and let the owner (if there is one) know about it. If the water source is at a city, county, or state park, you can call the office township wherever you are, once you get your dog a safe distance away from the water. The town or county should then test their water and put up a danger sign to keep animals and people from getting sick.

Lake Water Dangers Average Cost

From 371 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,200

Average Cost

$450

Symptoms of Lake Water Dangers in Dogs

The symptoms of lake water dangers depend on the source.

Blue-green Algae

  • Algae in vomit or stool
  • Blood in urine
  • Convulsions
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Excess salivation
  • Foaming at the mouth
  • Jaundice
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle tremors
  • Pale mucous membranes
  • Respiratory paralysis
  • Rigidity
  • Seizures
  • Stumbling
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness

Parasites or Bacteria

Cryptosporidium

  • Dehydration
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Stomach cramps or pain
  • Vomiting
  • Watery diarrhea
  • Weight loss

Giardia

  • Dehydration (loss of fluids)
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Greasy stools
  • Stomach cramps
  • Upset stomach or nausea/vomiting

Leptospirosis

  • Abdominal pain
  • Chills
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • High fever
  • Jaundice
  • Muscle aches
  • Rash
  • Red eyes
  • Vomiting

Saltwater Toxicity

  • Abnormal skin color
  • Altered level of consciousness
  • Confusion
  • Dry gums
  • General weakness
  • Lack of urination or inability to urinate
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle spasms
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Seizure
  • Weight loss

 Types

  • Blue-green algae
  • Parasites or bacteria (cryptosporidium, giardia, leptospirosis)
  • Saltwater toxicity
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Causes of Lake Water Dangers in Dogs

Drinking or swallowing just a small amount of water that is contaminated by any of these dangers can cause illness in your dog.

  • Blue-green algae
  • Cryptosporidium
  • Giardia
  • Leptospirosis
  • Saltwater
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Diagnosis of Lake Water Dangers in Dogs

The veterinarian will make sure your dog is stable before proceeding by giving intravenous (IV) fluids and oxygen therapy if needed. If the illness is from blue-green algae, anti-seizure medication will be given, and activated charcoal will be used to absorb the algae. Details from you and a physical examination should give the veterinarian a good idea of what the problem is, but some tests may be needed to rule out other causes. After a complete physical examination, laboratory tests, such as a  urinalysis, fecal examination to check for parasites, chemistry profile, and complete blood count (CBC) will be needed as well. The team may also do x-rays or an ultrasound to be sure there is no residual damage.

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Treatment of Lake Water Dangers in Dogs

Treatment depends on the contaminant that caused the illness in your dog. Blue-green algae contamination will require staying in the hospital for intravenous fluids, medications, oxygen therapy, and observation. Cryptosporidium usually does not require treatment except for fluids to reduce dehydration. Giardia requires an antiparasitic such as metronidazole, nitazoxanide, and tinidazole. Leptospirosis should be treated with antibiotics, like penicillin or doxycycline. Saltwater toxicity usually requires intravenous fluids, electrolyte monitoring, and supportive care.

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Recovery of Lake Water Dangers in Dogs

The prognosis for recovery from these water hazards depends on the contaminant itself. Parasites, bacteria, and saltwater toxicity are treatable if your dog is in good health, and recovery should be simple and quick. Unfortunately, blue-green algae toxicity is a serious situation that requires hospitalization for round-the-clock observation and treatment. Chances of recovery depends on the amount of algae your dog consumed and how fast you were able to obtain treatment.

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Lake Water Dangers Average Cost

From 371 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,200

Average Cost

$450

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Lake Water Dangers Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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American Bulldog

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Five Years

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargy, Diarrhea, Vomiting, Loss Of Appetite

My 5 year old dog is on a camping trip with us at the moment. He's heen swimming with us the past two days at a safe swimming lake here at the campground. The first day after swimming he seemed fine, no symtoms. The second day even, he was a little warn out from activities, but also didn't show any symptoms. However, today he woke up very lethargic, has had 3 episodes of diarrhea, and has vomited a hand full of times already. He is drinking fresh water when I really ask him to but has no interest in eating any food what so ever. Please, any suggestions?

Aug. 23, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

I'm sorry that is happening to your dog, he sounds very unhappy. From your description, if he is vomiting that frequently and having diarrhea and does not want to eat, it would be best to have him seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible. It sounds like there may have been something that he ate that did not agree with him, or he may have a foreign body that needs attention. Unfortunately, without seeing him, I can't say what might be going on, but from your description he does sound quite ill and it would be best to have him seen as soon as possible. I hope that he is okay.

Aug. 23, 2020

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French Bulldog

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Twelve Weeks

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Has Symptoms

Redness

He ran and jumped in lake water and now his eyes are really red

Aug. 23, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. His eyes may be red if he got some bacteria or had a trauma to his eye. If it continues and is not improving, it would be best to have him seen by a veterinarian. They will be able to examine him and see what might be going on. I hope that all goes well for him!

Aug. 23, 2020

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Pit Bull

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Two Years

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Dry Skin, Hair Loss Visible In Sunlight

My dog has developed dry skin and the surrounding areas seem to be patchy. I can tell when the light hits her coat at a certain angle that there is hair loss to a degree. She has been itching more than normal and the spots are beginning to travel from her shoulders up towards her neck/head and down the sides

Aug. 18, 2020

Owner

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Jessica N. DVM

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Hello- Thank you for your question. Itching and hair loss are most commonly associated with allergies in dogs. In about 80 to 90% of our dogs the allergy is environmental and in about 10 to 20% of our dogs the allergy is food related. They can also be allergic to fleas so make sure that she is on an effective flea preventative. Other differentials for hair loss and skin disease include hypothyroidism, mites, and ringworm. I would recommend scheduling a visit with your veterinarian so they can evaluate her skin and perform some tests on the skin. Then he or she can discuss treatment options to help with the hair loss and itchiness. Good luck!

Aug. 18, 2020

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Golden Retriever

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Eight Years

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Has Symptoms

Acting Like She Wants To Throw Up

I just took my dog swimming in a local lake (common activity for us), and now we are home and she is eating weeds and grass and acting like she needs ti throw up.

Aug. 5, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. It is possible that your dog ate something that she wasn't supposed to, or drink water that was infected by some bacteria. If she continues to have this problem, and has nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite, or lethargy, and it would be best to have her seen by your veterinarian. I hope that she is okay.

Aug. 7, 2020

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Rottweiler

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Seven Years

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Unknown severity

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1 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea

She drank lake water 4 or 5 days previous

Aug. 4, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. If she has diarrhea but is not vomiting, and has a normal appetite, you may be able to offer her a bland diet of boiled white chicken an boiled white rice, for a few days, and see if that helps. You can also offer a probiotic such as FortiFlora, as that may help re-establish normal intestinal flora. If that does not help, or she is vomiting or lethargic, then it would be best to have her seen by your veterinarian. I hope that she feels better soon.

Aug. 4, 2020

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Bogey

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Labrador Retriever

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6 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Seizures

During our daily trail walk last Friday evening (4 days ago), Bogey drank an excessive amount of water from a local stagnant pond. Next morning during our Saturday morning walk, he had diarrhea. On Sunday morning while waking up, he went into a 3 minute seizure. 7 hours later he experienced a 2nd seizure lasting 2 minutes. We rushed him to emergency vet after 2nd seizure. They placed him on an IV with midazolam. Observed him for 24 hours with no more seizures. Came home after 24 hour hospital stay and seems perfectly normal. Could he have picked up a bacterial infection from the Pond to cause the 2 seizures? Hoping we don’t experience any more seizures. So far so good.

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Sandy

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Pit bull

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3 Years

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Moderate severity

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Ear Lesion

We have 2 pit bull terrier mixes. One is 6 months old and the other, her father, is 3 years old. We took them over Thanksgiving weekend to Lake Weatherford, in Texas, so the puppy could see the lake for the first time. The Older dog fetched sticks and was in and out of the water a LOT. The puppy went in only one time. As soon as we got home, about a 30 minute drive, we bathed them in people shampoo. The next day I noticed that both dogs had something like hives under their coat. I had not researched lake water at all. I did research all of the horrible things that people shampoo could do to a dog. The larger dog has welts now, especially on his face and top of his head. I used a wash cloth and clear water to try to rinse out some of the shampoo residue, I don't think we left any, but just in case. He is worse, his ears have blood spots in them, the hives are breaking open and crusting and bleeding. I am taking him to the vet in the morning. He is running fever now. I don't know if it was the lake water or the shampoo, but for anyone living in the Weatherford, TX area, do NOT let your dog swim in the lake. And read up on the dangers of shampooing your dog with people shampoo! Dog has been given benadryl one every 12 hours. His jaw is swelling on one side. Please pray that he has a full recovery. He is a gentle sweet dog.

Lake Water Dangers Average Cost

From 371 quotes ranging from $200 - $1,200

Average Cost

$450

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