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Dog in West Palm Beach Dies After Exposure to Blue-Green Algae

 Aphanizomenon flos-aquae Bloom, St. Johns River, Satsuma, Putnam County, May 26, 2010
Aphanizomenon flos-aquae Bloom, St. Johns River, Satsuma, Putnam County, May 26, 2010

A dog has died after exposure to blue-green algae toxins in water from the C-51 canal in West Palm Beach. The Palm Beach Post reports, the eight-year-old boxer named Bella, died last month; likely the first reported canine death in Palm Beach County from blue-green algae poisoning.

Blue-green algae has plagued Palm Beach County waterways, fueled by nutrient runoff from the watershed and Lake Okeechobee. Shortly before Bella’s death, reports on blue green algae from the C-51 canal showed toxin levels nearly three times higher than what is considered harmful to human health. Bella's vomit was tested and found to contain fatal levels of the cyanobacteria.

The dog's family had been boating on the canal. They say they were careful not to let Bella go in the water, which was green with algae that day. They believe Bella ate something that had washed off the boat as they cleaned it.

There is no antidote to blue green algae poisoning. The body just needs to be supported as it works the toxins out of its system. Bella's symptoms included vomiting and convulsion.

If people suspect a pet has been exposed to blue green algae, they're urged to contact a veterinarian immediately.

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