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Posted on: March 25, 2021

Lake Caution For Dog Owners

Image of a dog in a lake

March 25, 2021 Update:

LCRA received test results on March 23, 2021 showing toxicity from blue-green algae in algae samples taken from Inks Lake, Lake Marble Falls and Lake Travis. 

March 13, 2021 Update:

On Friday, March 12, 2021, LCRA received test results showing toxicity from blue-green algae in algae samples taken at 10 locations on Lake Travis, including Lakeway City Park. LCRA is strongly urging pet owners not to allow dogs to play in or eat algae in any of the Highland Lakes. 

LCRA has not received any additional reports of dogs becoming ill after swimming in Lake Travis in the last two weeks. LCRA did earlier receive reports of two dogs dying and five others becoming ill after swimming in the Travis Landing neighborhood near Hudson Bend/Comanche Point. 

LCRA will take additional water and algae samples from other parts of Lake Travis and the other Highland Lakes this coming week. Those results will be shared as soon as they are back from the lab. 

March 1, 2021

LCRA has detected cyanotoxin, which can be fatal to dogs, in solid material along the shoreline of Lake Travis in the Hudson Bend area. LCRA strongly encourages dog owners not to let their pets play in the lake or near shorelines where algae has accumulated around Hudson Bend. There are NO reports of the toxins along other parts of the lake, including parts that run along Lakeway at this time. 

There is always some level of risk of toxins in a natural body of water. It's important to follow this advice to limit exposure:

  • Avoid stagnant areas or areas with algae
  • Rinse your dog after contact with water
  • If your dog becomes sick after swimming, take your animal to a veterinarian immediately

Dogs who ingest algae with the toxin could have a number of symptoms, including respiratory paralysis and death. Dogs can also be exposed to the toxin by licking algae from their fur. These are some signs in your pet you may detect within minutes to hours of exposure:

  • Excessive drooling, vomiting and diarrhea
  • Foaming at the mouth
  • Jaundice and hepatomegaly 
  • Blood in urine or dark urine
  • Stumbling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Photosensitization in recovering animals
  • Abdominal tenderness
  • Progression of muscle twitches
  • Respiratory paralysis

The risk to humans is currently low. The 2019 harmful algae bloom that appeared in Lady Bird Lake in Austin appeared to have only affected dogs. The toxins were contained in that instance in the algae and not released into the water. It is always recommended that people avoid stagnant areas of the lake and handling algae. 

Click the link for more information. 

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