Toxic algae warning for pet owners

Dog owners should be careful around Nelson rivers after one animal died and others have become sick, victims of possible poisoning by toxic algae.

Town and Country veterinarian Mark McGinley said a dead dog had been brought in over the past few days and there had been other cases of dogs with vomiting and diarrhoea.

At this time of year and with warm days and little rain, conditions were right for toxic algae to bloom.

His comments come after a Facebook message was circulated among Nelson people saying that a dog died less than an hour after returning from a swim in the Appleby River. It had begun having seizures within 30 minutes, the message said, and died in front of its distressed family before they could get it to a vet.

Mr McGinley said owners should be ''pretty wary'' if they saw algae floating or forming mats on the side of any river in the district.

However as far as he knew algae was only suspected as the cause of the problems. Even mouldy food could be a serious danger, depending on the toxins that developed.

"At this time of year dogs get into all sorts of things."

The Nelson Mail