Rising Algae Levels In Iowa Lakes Can Be Fatal For Pets

Aug 21, 2015

Iowa’s Department of Natural Resources says blue-green algae blooms are not only a nuisance, some forms of the algae can be harmful to people, pets, and livestock. Mary Skopec of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources says bacteria from algae can produce toxins that are damaging to either the liver or nerves.

“A dog can go from being perfectly fine to being dead within a matter of hours, or even minutes, because this can shut down the liver right away," she says.

Skopec says it’s important to get pets that contact the algae to a veterinarian right away. People who have been exposed and develop symptoms that include skin irritation, upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea should see a doctor and report their symptoms to the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Advisories are currently posted for Black Hawk Lake and Green Valley Lake, but officials say they can’t test everywhere and say people should stay clear of water that looks green and scummy.

Skopec spoke with Ben Kieffer as part of this week's news buzz program on River to River. Also heard during the hour: IPR correspondent Joyce Russell reports on Rep. Linda Upmeyer's appointment as Speaker of the Iowa House, Mark Wyatt remembers bicyclist Gregary "Wade" Franck who died this week after a collision with a drunk driver, and anthropologist Emily Wentzell gives her take on the news of the FDA approving a libido drug for women.

Also, Kieffer talks with Iowa State University researcher Greg Welk about how fitness trackers may not be as accurate as previously thought, and the Central Iowa Little League president talks about the controversy at the Little League Softball World Series.