Dog almost died in water with lethal algae

A four-year-old border collie nearly died after playing in a pond containing suspected blue-green algae, but a vet team in Lincoln saved her life.

Dog owner Russell Moody had taken Tala, and the dog’s sister Harli, for a walk on farmland near their rural home in the Nottinghamshire village of Dunham-on-Trent.

There’s a beck and a pond on the farmland and the dogs were happily playing in and around the water for around an hour. However, Tala started to struggle and was unresponsive, leaving Russell fearing the worst before the dog’s life was saved.

Border Collie Tala. Photo: Vets Now

On arrival at the Vets Now in Lincoln practice, Russell had to wait in the car while staff assessed the situation due to the current coronavirus restrictions.

Tala was given an injection to make her sick and bring up the algae. She was put on oxygen and intravenous fluids and her condition was critical.

Vets Now in Lincoln were able to save her life and Russell said Tala obviously has “something deep inside her and is a real fighter”.

Tala and her owner Russell Moody. Photo: Vets Now

Greenkeeper Russell, 56, said: “I noticed Tala squinting and then she started staggering as if her balance had gone. It was such a shock and when I got her home and she couldn’t get out of the car, I really started to panic.

“I called my vet and, as it was the evening, I was referred to Vets Now and was told to bring her straight in. By the time I went back to the car she was running at the mouth and she was totally unresponsive. It was a real emergency run to get help just as quickly as I could.”

He added: “I expected to be getting a phone call telling me she’d died. It really was touch and go and it was unbelievable that she came through it.

“It was a magic moment when we heard she was going to be okay and then seeing her again was so special. It was like getting her as a pup all over again. We can’t thank staff enough.”

Alana Taylor, veterinary nurse at Vets Now in Lincoln, said: “She was in a very bad way. She wasn’t responding to stimulation and her pupils were dilated. We did a radiograph to check her chest was clear as it was thought she may have inhaled water, but we suspected it was blue green algae toxicity due to the quick onset of signs.

“She was close to having to be put to sleep when, somehow, she suddenly turned a corner. Her demeanour changed after about three hours and she became aware of her surroundings and wagged her tail when we spoke to her.”

Vets Now in Lincoln is warning people about the dangers of blue-green algae. Blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria, is typically found in freshwater lakes, ponds, reservoirs and slow-moving rivers. It can lead to liver damage and death.

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