LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Blue-green algae are raising health concerns after pet owners in North Carolina, Texas and Georgia lost their pets after possibly being exposed to the toxin in lakes.
The Army Corps of Engineers in Little Rock said it’s not in Arkansas, but it was found in Lake Gillham last year, as well as Lake Nimrod in 2014.
“We are still sampling at Gillham even though there is not a bloom this year, but just to have baseline information,” conservation biologist Cherrie-Lee Phillip said.
A veterinarian said there’s no way to know it’s unless it’s tested.
“You really can’t differentiate the good algae from the bad algae.” Briarwood Animal Hospital's Dr. Bob Hale said.
Because the algae are so dangerous the best option is prevention, which means not letting your pets near any standing water.
“It can destroy their liver and it can destroy their nervous system and it can act within 12 to 24 hours,” Hale said.
Exposed animals may experience vomiting, diarrhea, difficulty breathing and seizures.
“In recent years there’s been greater nutrient inputs in bodies of water,” Phillip said.
This combined with extreme heat is a perfect recipe for the algae.
“Nutrients being nitrogen and phosphorous, from run-offs, from storm water, it accumulates in the water bodies," Phillip said.
The Army Corps of Engineers said if you notice any standing water that looks very green and has a strong smell it should be reported.
It's important to know in some areas there are no visible signs.
Concerns can also be reported to the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality by clicking here.