Vet warning: Blue-green algae fatal for pets and livestock

It looks like pea soup or green paint and it sits on the surface of water – usually found in lakes, ponds and other bodies of water. This strange looking scum, known as blue-green algae deadly to cats and dogs.

Lort Smith vets are warning Victorians taking their pets on holiday to watch for this fatally poisonous blue-green algae – and you will be able to see it. In fact you can even see it from space thanks to the CSIRO and the NSW Department of Primary Industries – Water.

Buddy, a kelpie cross blue heeler, and Logan an Australian cattle dog cross fawn Dalmatian, arrived at Lort Smith Animal Hospital’s accident and emergency on Sunday after entering a pond during a supervised walk on their home property.

“I was so scared. Both Logan and Buddy went from leaping around to stumbling, unable to walk properly in what felt like seconds,” said their carer Lisa.

“By the time we reached Lort Smith, their back legs had completely collapsed. They both had to be carried in,” added Lisa.

Blue-green algae is a microscopic bacteria. The toxins produced by some can be poisonous to people, livestock and pets that swim or drink from the contaminated water.

It is difficult to determine which blue-green algae is toxic. Lort Smith vets recommend to treat all blue-green algae as potentially poisonous. It only takes a little exposure for it to produce fatal results if not treated immediately.

“It’s really important to get your pet to a vet immediately” said Dr Leanne Pinfold, Head Veterinarian at Lort Smith.

“There is no antidote for blue-green algae poisoning, so immediate treatment to remove the toxins is essential. If left untreated it can be fatal within 24 hours,” warned Dr Pinfold.

If you suspect your dog has been exposed to blue-green algae, Lort Smith’s accident and emergency is open from 8:30am till midnight every day of the year.

Both Buddy and Logan were given drip treatment to remove the toxins. Unfortunately, Logan was more severely affected and had to have the toxins pumped from his stomach and undergo an enema.

Victoria Emergency has issued a warning for blue-green algae in several areas throughout the state. Up to date information is available at:

While Buddy has made a full recovery after treatment, Logan has no permanent damage to organs and should make a full recovery in the coming days.

If you suspect your pet is showing signs of blue-green algae poisoning, seek immediate veterinary attention.

Lort Smith is open for pet emergencies from 8:30am – midnight every day of the year.