How Blue-Green Algae Can Kill a Dog in Just Hours

Playing How to Protect Your Dog From Toxic Algae in Lakes and Ponds

Three women have been left inconsolable over the sudden and shocking deaths of their beloved pets.

Ollie, Harper and Koda were healthy dogs in the prime of their lives when they each separately visited Lady Bird Lake in Austin, Texas, for a day of frolicking in the sun. 

After some time in the water, though, they suddenly collapsed without warning. 

"It was a nightmare," Mia Mineghino, mom of Koda, told Inside Edition. "I look back to that night and it just kind of feels like a blur."

"I just laid on the ground with him and told him how sorry I was and that I loved him and that I would have never gone if I knew," said Ollie's owner, Brittany Stanton. 

Claire Saccardi, whose dog Harper was also affected, said she rushed her pup to the vet, but it was too late. 

"Shortly after they come in and tell me, 'I'm so sorry, but your baby died,'" said Saccardi.

Now, the three women, who didn't know each other before, are bonding over the deaths of their dogs. All three dogs were exposed to deadly toxins in something called cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae. The microorganisms are partial to warm, stagnant water that is rich in nutrients, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Children and dogs are especially susceptible to the toxins produced.

And sadly, once exposed, there's usually nothing that can be done. 

Ollie, Harper and Koda weren't alone. In North Carolina, Melissa Martin's three dogs died after being exposed to blue-green algae at a pond near her neighborhood. Within hours, they all started seizing and were soon dead. 

Back in Texas, the three women are now happy to see signs have been posted warning of the lake's danger. The lake has also been closed to the public for the time being. 

Of course, none of that will bring their beloved pets back. 

"The grieving process has been really difficult," said Mineghino.

Experts recommend seeking medical help immediately if your dog appears to have trouble walking after being in a body of water.

It is impossible to tell whether a blue-green algal bloom is toxic, but avoid the water if you spot one. Typically, a bloom looks like a spilled green paint slick on the water. A bloom also can have a swampy smell. Toxins can persist in the water even after a bloom has dissipated.

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