Greenway staff keeping a close eye out for dog-killing algae plaguing the Southeast

Two dogs carry a tree branch to shore while swimming in the lake at the Mary Warner Mack Dog Park in Fort Mill.
Two dogs play in the lake at the off-leash trail at the Anne Springs Close Greenway’s Mary Warner Mack Memorial Dog Park. So far, a toxic algae blamed for the death of dogs across the Southeast is not present at the Greenway, officials said. (Photo by Lyn Legere)

FORT MILL — A dangerous strain of algae that is particularly toxic for dogs has not shown up in the lakes at the Anne Springs Close Greenway, including the one on the off-leash trail at the Mary Warner Mack Dog Park.

Elizabeth Bowers, a spokeswoman for the Greenway, said staff is aware of the appearance of the deadly blooms in lakes, ponds, creeks and other bodies of water across the Southeast, including in North Carolina, where several dogs died shortly after swimming in water where blue-green algae blooms were present. Even before the incidents, staff regularly monitors water quality in the Greenway’s lakes, Bowers said.

“We have had a lot of folks reach out to express concern regarding toxic blue-green algae,” she said.

“We do manage for algae in all Greenway lakes/ponds and are actively monitoring for this specific strain. Our Natural Resources team is already one step ahead of this issue.”

The Anne Springs Close Greenway posted about the toxic algae that is showing up in lakes and ponds in the Southeast on its Mary Warner Mack Dog Park Facebook page.

If the algae, a bacteria technically called cyanobacteria, is detected, the Greenway will alert members and the general public through its website, social media, and email.

There’s no anti-toxin veterinarians can use to treat infected dogs, but there are medications and methods they can use, so it’s crucial that anyone who suspects their pet ingested the algae get the animal to the vet as soon as possible. Symptoms, which appear to show up soon after pets come into contact with the bacteria include vomiting, sudden incontinence and seizures.

For more about the cyanobacteria, click here.

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