BREAKING NEWS Bear Fire: Evacuation order reduced to warning for community of Feather Falls Full Story
BREAKING NEWS Public Health: California surpasses 15,000 coronavirus related deaths Full Story

A North Carolina woman took her three dogs to a pond to play. Within hours, her pups had died from toxic algae

A doggy play date in a North Carolina pond turned tragic after three pups died from...

Posted: Aug 12, 2019 7:10 AM

A doggy play date in a North Carolina pond turned tragic after three pups died from toxic algae. Now, their owners say they hope their loss will educate fellow dog lovers about the dangerous blooms.

Melissa Martin and Denise Mintz took their beloved dogs Abby, Izzy and Harpo to a pond in Wilmington on Thursday night to cool off. But within 15 minutes of leaving the pond, Abby, a West Highland white terrier, began to have a seizure.

Martin rushed her to a veterinary hospital, with Izzy and Harpo right behind her. Upon their arrival, Izzy, also a Westie, started seizing, and both terriers rapidly declined. Then Harpo, her 6-year-old "doodle" mix therapy dog, began to seize and show signs of liver failure.

By midnight Friday, all three dogs had died, she said.

The culprit, Martin's veterinarian said, was poisoning from blue-green algae present in the pond where they played.

"What started out as a fun night for them has ended in the biggest loss of our lives," Martin wrote in a Facebook post that has since been shared more than 15,000 times.

Martin told CNN she didn't notice the algae at first, but her veterinarian told her that what appeared to be debris from flowers were blooms of cyanobacteria.

She said she didn't see any signs warning of toxic algae near the pond, which sits next to a popular walking trail. It's her mission now, she says, to erect signs about toxic waters and warn pet owners about the blooms.

"I will not stop until I make positive change," she said. "I will not lose my dogs for nothing."

Blue-green algae is most common in the summer

Toxic algae blooms are more likely to infest bodies of fresh water when the weather is warm and waters are stagnant, according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.

Some algal blooms leave a film of muck on the surface and make the water ruddy, but others are difficult to immediately detect, such as the blooms in the pond where Martin's dogs were exposed.

There's no cure for the poisoning, and exposure nearly always leads to death in dogs. Drinking from a body of water where blue-green algae lurks or licking it off fur can kill a dog within 15 minutes of exposure, according to Blue Cross for Pets, a UK animal charity.

The North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality periodically updates a map of the state where algae blooms have been reported, but in the case that a health notice isn't posted, it's best for humans and pets alike to avoid waters that smell bad or look odd in color or murky, the state's health and human services department said.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 786168

Reported Deaths: 15016
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Los Angeles2607976353
Riverside566811153
San Bernardino52471908
Orange520631128
San Diego44577760
Kern31379354
Fresno27668355
Sacramento21297375
Alameda20558374
Santa Clara20410296
San Joaquin19793414
Stanislaus16319335
Contra Costa15837199
Tulare15599256
Ventura12328143
Imperial11558314
San Francisco1074599
San Mateo9522143
Monterey946767
Santa Barbara8862110
Merced8750134
Kings728377
Sonoma7060114
Marin6557112
Solano608555
Madera429658
Placer346641
San Luis Obispo336927
Butte274835
Yolo274754
Santa Cruz22188
Sutter164210
Napa161413
San Benito130111
Yuba11187
El Dorado10684
Mendocino84918
Lassen7310
Shasta68714
Glenn5503
Colusa5096
Nevada5066
Tehama4984
Humboldt4826
Lake46510
Calaveras31114
Amador28616
Tuolumne2214
Inyo18714
Mono1652
Siskiyou1610
Del Norte1361
Mariposa752
Plumas490
Modoc240
Trinity150
Sierra60
Alpine20
Unassigned00
Chico
Broken Clouds
86° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 86°
Oroville
Clear
88° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 88°
Paradise
Broken Clouds
86° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 86°
Chester
Clear
74° wxIcon
Hi: 74° Lo: 46°
Feels Like: 74°
Red Bluff
Clear
85° wxIcon
Hi: 90° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 85°
Willows
Broken Clouds
86° wxIcon
Hi: 93° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 86°
Air quality has worsened for most of northern California as a lot of smoke from our area fires as settled over the valleys and foothills. We can expect more hazy, smoky sunshine on Tuesday with light to moderate breezes as autumn begins.
KHSL Severe
KHSL Radar
KHSL Temperatures

Community Events