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lady bird lake dog winslow swimming

Austin finds toxic algae in Lady Bird Lake. (Austonia)

Small amounts of dihydroanatoxin, potentially dog-killing algae, has been found in an algae sample taken from Lake Austin near Mansfield Dam as well as two samples from Lady Bird Lake.


The toxin has already been found in other Highland Lakes by the Lower Colorado River Authority this year and was also found in Lady Bird Lake the past two years. At least one dog has died in Lake Travis this year and many have been reported sick.

Cyanotoxins are forms of harmful blue-green algae that can flourish in blooms in standing bodies of water, and they've been harmful to dogs in both lakes in the past as well as Lake Travis. While trace amounts were found in Lake Austin and Lady Bird Lake, there is still an increased risk of sickness if dogs swim in either lake.

Blooms of the harmful algae can cause the deaths of livestock and dogs, and people may also suffer health issues after being exposed, though it's rarer. Symptoms in dogs may include fatigue, excessive salivation, difficulty breathing, vomiting, diarrhea and seizures.

Experts have found that harmful algae blooms can occur in warmer times of the year, but the Watershed Protection Department is working to reevaluate its algae monitoring system after the algae was found in four lakes and was detected in cooler times of the year.

If a dog reports any telltale symptoms, dog owners should consult a vet immediately and report the illness to 3-1-1.

While swimming dogs should be met with caution, humans can still boat and fish without risk, but handling algae is not recommended.

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