Dog owners have been issued a warning after a dog sadly passed away following a walk.
It comes as a local council has advised those taking their four legged friends to keep them out of the water at Anton Lakes in Andover while it is tested for blue-green algae.
It is thought that the pup could have passed away due to the suspected substance which is deadly to dogs – though nothing has been confirmed at this stage.
The popular dog walking spot has a river and lake within its nature reserve.
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Owner, Hannah May Washington, told Wiltshire Live that after taking their cocker spaniel Roo to the lake for his daily walk on April 30, they never thought it would end so tragically.
They explained: “We have taken Roo to the lakes many times before, but not so much recently, and did notice that a lot of the areas he would usually swim were incredibly dirty, much more so than normal. So we didn’t spend so much time swimming in those areas, however he did jump in briefly for a lot of them.”
According to the UK Center for Ecology and Hydrology, blue-green algae naturally occur in lakes, ponds, canals, rivers and reservoirs and is a type of bacteria which can produce toxic chemicals that are very harmful to the health of people and animals.
The center add it is “particularly a health risk during warm summer months when their concentrations increase in the water to form blooms and scums on the surface.
“This can look like green or turquoise wispy paint, green scum or clumps of green particles.”
The couple said the walk seemed to be going completely fine until they noticed that Roo’s face became a little droopy, so they assumed he had “gotten too much water in his eyes” and decided to return to the car.
Hannah said the pair “knew straight away something was wrong” on the way home as the pup was extremely agitated and struggling to stand, so they rushed him to the vets.
Hannah recalled: “While in my arms Roo began to have fits, struggling to breath, foaming at the mouth. It was the worst experience of my life having to hold him, speaking to him, telling him mummy and daddy loved him.”
In the 15 minutes the journey to the vets took, Roo had become pale and was not breathing on his own. His heart stopped beating and he unfortunately passed away at around 7pm.
Hannah said their “worst nightmare had officially happened, our precious, young, baby Roo had lost his life, so suddenly.
“Me and my partner are only 23 and 24, and we have just celebrated a year in our first home together, and a year with what can only be described as our first child in Roo. He was everything in our lives.
“Our lives, our habits, our plans, revolved around our lovely pup, and so I can’t even begin to describe the pain we are in.”
The couple want to share their story as a warning to all dog walkers in Andover, that Anton Lakes is potentially dangerous and to avoid that location until further notice.
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Councilor Phil North put out a message to residents on May 3 to warn dog owners of the councils suspicions adding that they had received a report of a dog sadly passing away and asked locals “please keep dogs out of the water.”
In an official statement leader of Test Valley Borough Council, Councilor Phil North, said: “As a fellow dog owner, I was extremely saddened to hear about Roo’s passing following a walk at Anton Lakes. Although no cause of death has been confirmed with the council, following feedback from the vet we are taking a precautionary approach and are working with the Environment Agency to test the water for blue-green algae.
“This algae occurs naturally in bodies of freshwater but can be potentially dangerous to people and their pets. We are hoping to receive the results of the tests by the end of next week, and while we await the outcome, we are recommending that people and pets stay out of the water. Residents and pet owners can find out more about blue-green algae and its effects via the kennel club website.”
According to the Kennel Club the effects of blue-green algae on dogs may vary but there are some recognized effects.
- Vomiting and diarrhea (both of which may be bloody)
- Effects on the heart and blood pressure
- breathing problems
- organ failure
They add that signs often start within an hour, but may occur within a few minutes, or can sometimes be delayed by a few days. Many cases are life threatening and dogs can die very quickly.