LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Two weeks ago, the Young family from Wabash was enjoying a Sunday afternoon with their four dogs at the Salamone Reservoir. What was supposed to be a fun-filled day, turned into a day they will never forget, as two of their four dogs died after coming in contact with a toxic blue-green algae.
Purdue Veterinary Toxicologist Stephen Hooser said this blue-green algae is present in our area as well.
"Blue-green algae is always around in ponds and reservoirs throughout the state," said Hooser. "But, every once and a while, conditions are just right, like in this drought we have right now, the algae will have a huge explosion of growth. And sometimes, it produces a poison when that happens."
Hooser said the poison can affect either the nervous system or liver, and said both can be potentially deadly.
"The poisons that can affect the nervous system, it's severe," said Hooser. "Salivation, vomiting, tremors, seizures, and death can occur. With the liver poison, it affects the liver. So, you'd have vomiting, diarrhea, severe abdominal pain, and jaundice associated with that."
Hooser said the effects of the nerve poison can happen in minutes, and can also cause death within minutes. He said liver damage can occur in just 24 hours.
Hooser said the water must be ingested in order for the effects to occur, and said that's why animals who drink the lake or pond water are more at risk.
Carroll County Emergency Management Director Dave McDowell said he's already seen evidence of the blue-green algae in the past few days, and warns everyone to be cautious.
"Every body of water I've seen this summer in my area has the blue-green algae," said McDowell. "Right now, we're standing in front of a creek in Delphi, I've seen it in the Tippecanoe River, and I'm sure it's in Lake Freeman and Lake Shafer too. Don't let this risk ruin your summer, but be aware of it. "
Hooser said the algae will remain in our lakes and ponds until a heavy rain storm dilutes it.
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