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Maryland Department of Agriculture: Protect Animals From Blue-Green Algae.

ANNAPOLIS, Md., Sept. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- The Maryland Department of Agriculture has received reports that two Cecil County dogs may have been victims of poisoning last week after drinking water in a part of the Elk River where there has been a recent bloom of blue-green algae. Although veterinarians in Elkton were unable to confirm the diagnosis, Secretary of Agriculture, Dr. Henry A. Virts, advises owners of pets and livestock to keep their animals away from ponds, creeks, or rivers with a blue-green "scum" on their surfaces.

Most algae do not produce toxins that affect wild and domestic animals, including farm animals, dogs, cats, birds, fish, snakes, and frogs. If toxins develop, the major concern is for animals, but humans may experience irritation of skin after contact with blue-green algae or digestive upsets after swallowing it. Blue-green algae can thrive in warm, dry, and calm conditions that prevail in late summer or early fall. They are commonly found in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

Dr. Roger E. Olson, State Veterinarian, suggests that owners of animals that become sick after exposure to infested waters seek veterinary assistance. "Maryland Department of Agriculture Animal Health Laboratories are prepared to confirm the diagnosis in any animals that die," Dr. Olson said.

Animal Health Laboratories are located in Centreville, 410-758-0846, College Park, 301-935-6074, Frederick, 301-663-9528, Oakland, 301-334-2185, and Salisbury, 410-543-6610.

For more information contact Dr. Olson at the Maryland Department of Agriculture on 410-841-5810 or request Farmers' Bulletin 2275, Preventing Livestock Deaths From Blue-Green Algae Poisoning, from your local State Cooperative Extension Office.
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 25, 1998
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