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FAMILY'S PET DOGS POISONED BY BURN; Horrible deaths after taking a drink.

Byline: By Kurt Bayer

A MOTHER was shocked when her two labradors died after drinking water at a beauty spot.

Now Kate Birrell fears that children may be at risk from deadly toxins in the blue-green algae around the River Tay.

She told of the horrific deaths of pets Clara and Eva just 30 minutes after they drank from a burn flowing into the river on its south bank near Balmerino, Fife.

Kate, 30, said: "Clara's legs were shaking and she was going rigid.

"And while we were on the phone to the vet in St Andrews, Eva's eyes were rolling around in her head.

"We got them both in the car but by the time we got to the vet, they were both having convulsions.

"I could barely hold Eva, she was shaking so violently."

Kate, of Birkhill, Angus, who often takes her three-year-old son Logan on the walks, added: "If this can happen to two strong healthy labradors, then I shudder to think how youngsters might be affected."

The deaths came in the week that Fife Council and NHS Fife warned of a "dangerous blue-green algae" outbreak in the area.

The poisonous algae bacterium forms naturally in water and can kill animals and cause serious harm to humans.

It can cause water to appear dirty green and scum over.

It can cause skin rashes, eye irritations, vomiting, diarrhoea, fever and muscle and joint pains.

Kate said that the vet initially suspected the animals had been affected by an agricultural poison or pesticide but toxin experts from England confirmed algae infection.

Kate said: "Clara and Eva were a huge part of my family and we are devastated at what happened."

CAPTION(S):

SHOCK: Kate, Logan and pet Clara GEORGE McLUSKIE
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 15, 2006
Words:291
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