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On July 3, a dog became ill after swimming at the public boat landing on Perch Lake. The possibility was suggested that the dog became ill because of blue-green algae. After testing the water and interviewing the dog’s owner and the emergency veterinarian, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) concluded that blue-green algae poisoning was not the likely cause of the dog’s illness at Perch Lake.
St. Croix County Public Health collected water samples from the lake and sent them to the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene. The test results reported that Perch Lake’s water presented a very low risk for toxins from blue-green algae. Additionally, a DHS veterinarian reviewed the case details and concluded that exhaustion or heat stroke could have explained the dog’s symptoms.
We are happy to share that the dog recovered! The emergency veterinarian tested the dog’s blood chemistry and liver and found no damage.
Blue-green algae are a normal part of all Wisconsin rivers and lakes. Problems arise if nutrients in the water are elevated, causing them to grow to high numbers also known as a bloom. Blooms are most common during mid to late summer.
Blue-green algae can create toxins that may make both humans and pets sick, if ingested. Blue-green algae poisoning shares similar symptoms with heatstroke and water intoxication. These symptoms include:
Here are some tips to stay safe when swimming:
Note: Filamentous green algae that is long and stringy, like green hair, and are not dangerous
If you have additional questions, please visit our beach health page. Or you can Learn more about blue-green algae or report a bloom on the Wisconsin DNR’s website.