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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 signs 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 may be needed, and activated charcoal might be given 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)  may be recommended 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 likely require staying in the hospital for intravenous fluids, medications, oxygen therapy, and observation. Cryptosporidium may require treatment, and Giardiatypically requires an antiparasitic drug. Leptospirosis is usually treated with antibiotics. 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

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Husky

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1-2

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Unknown severity

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3 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea

We went to a small park yesterday that had a large pond and both my dogs jumped in. One is kinda just acting more calm I guess and had diarrhea and the other seems fine. Just want to make sure there’s nothing to worry about I didn’t know till today not to let them in that water and they were in for probably 5-10 mins

Sept. 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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3 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. If they are still having diarrhea, It would be best to have them seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine your pet and see what might be causing this, check for parasites, and let you know what treatment might help.

Oct. 11, 2020

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Labrador Retriever

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4.5 months

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Unknown severity

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5 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Diarrhea

We took our puppy to try swimming yesterday at a nearby lake. She had diarrhea this morning, could that just be delayed nerves or should we be worried she contracted a disease? She was not in the water for very long and we don't think she drank any.

Sept. 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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5 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. . It is possible that she drank some dirty water, and if she develops signs of vomiting, or the diarrhea isn't getting better, It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and help get treatment if it is appropriate.

Oct. 13, 2020

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Lake Water Dangers Average Cost

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

Average Cost

$450

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