The death of two dogs results in advice to stop pets from entering the river at Hawley Meadows
Pet lovers have been spreading support and advice to each other after two dogs died from suspected algae poisoning in the river at Hawley Meadows.
Last weekend Blackwater Valley Countryside Trust put up a sign warning owners to prevent their animals, particularly dogs, from going into the river.
The sign, put up on the trust’s noticeboard by the bridge at the Hawley Meadows car park, just off the A331, said rangers had received a report last Friday (August 9) of two dogs dying of blue-green algae poisoning after swimming in the river.
Rangers have stressed that the cause of the dogs' deaths had not yet been confirmed but the sign advised people and animals to avoid the water in the meantime and people should let the trust know if anyone had experienced ill-health after contact with the water.
Meanwhile the Environment agency is looking into the reports.
Pet lover Kay Atwood runs her own dog training and agility class business in the Hawley and Frimley area.
The two dogs that died last week belonged to the family of one of her clients.
Mrs Atwood from Kay9 said: “It is so sad. I do not hear about it very often. People do not know much about algae poisoning which makes this case so tragic. The algae is potentially lethal to dogs. I am so pleased that the rangers acted so quickly.
“They responded to my email immediately. The way they acted was brilliant.”
Mrs Atwood sent a newsletter to all of her customers informing them about the recent incident.
Dog walking and boarding service Wag ‘n’ Woof in Camberley has also spread the warning to pet owners on its Facebook page.
Nearly 70 people have commented on the social networking website and many have forwarded advice to other pet owners.
Blue green algae is also known as algae bloom or cyanobacteria and is poisonous to cats, dogs, horses, cows and birds.
The algae grows and colonises to give the water a blue-green appearance and sometimes it produces toxins.
This bacteria, found in freshwater lakes, streams and ponds, shuts down all the organs in the animal’s body. Common symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, blood in stools, seizures and disorientation.
Unfortunately, there is no antidote for the toxins produced by the algae so immediate veterinary care is imperative.
Stuart Croft, ranger at Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership, said he had not had confirmation that the deaths were caused by algae poisoning, but added: “We are not sure if it is the case as we have only had one report so far.
“The Environment Agency is investigating to see if it is the case and then we will let owners know then.”