Hutt River algae kills another dog

MATT STEWART
Last updated 14:32 21/02/2012

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Another dog-death from toxic algae in the Hutt River has prompted further warnings about the high risk of cyanobacteria blooms.

A one-year-old cocker spaniel died in Upper Hutt on the weekend shortly after coming into contact with cyanobacteria mats on the edge of the Hutt River near Heretaunga Park.

The river has long been plagued by algae, which is naturally present in many New Zealand waterways, and up to nine dogs' deaths have been attributed to the organism.

Dogs are especially susceptible to cyanobacteria toxins because they like to scavenge mats at the rivers edge.

Greater Wellington and Regional Public Health issued warnings earlier this month after the toxic algae was spotted in the river.

Last week monitoring found toxic algae was high in the Hutt River from Birchville downstream.

Latest monitoring confirms cyanobacteria levels remain high through the same stretch of river with thick clumps of the algae, which is brown or black, washing up on the river's edge.

River users should avoid contact with mats of algae, ensuring children do not touch mats.

The mats can contain toxins which may cause vomiting, diarrhoea and skin irritation in humans.

The Hutt catchment has gone three weeks since a substantial rainfall, or 'fresh,' which combined with warm weather has resulted in a rapid cyanobacteria bloom.

There is also moderate risk from cyanobacteria mats in the Waikanae and Waipoua rivers.

Related stories:

Warning: Deadly algae in Hutt River

Hutt River toxic algae warnings

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