Three Dogs Die From Blue-Green Algae Poisoning Hours After Going Swimming
Owners Melissa Martin and Denise Mintz took their three pups out for a walk near a pond in Wilmington on Thursday night and allowed them to get in for a swim. But 15 minutes later one of the dogs, a West Highland terrier called Abby, had a seizure.
They quickly rushed her off to a veterinary hospital, but on arrival another of the dogs - Westie Izzy - began having seizures too.
The third dog - a therapy mixed-breed 'doodle' named Harpo - fell ill and started to show signs of liver failure shortly after. Before midnight the following day, all three were dead.
Now, the two owners hope their deaths can help educate other dog owners about the dangers of letting dogs into water where blue-green algae is present.
The pond where the dogs went for a dip did not bear warning signs about the dangers of toxic algae, but they hope to change that.
In an emotional Facebook post, Martin wrote: "At 12:08 AM, our dogs crossed the rainbow bridge together.
"They contracted blue green algae poisoning and there was nothing they could do. We are gutted. I wish I could do today over.
"I would give anything to have one more day with them. Harpo and I had work to do, but now we will carry on in his memory and we will make sure every standing body of water has a warning sign."
She continued: "Abby and Izzy had the most fun tonight chasing the ball and each other and rolling in the mud.
"What started out as a fun night for them has ended in the biggest loss of our lives. We need your prayers. Not sure we're strong enough to get through this without them.
"We are now on a mission to put signs at every body of water that can have this deadly bacteria."
They've started a GoFundMe fundraiser in order to raise awareness, and so far they've raised more than $2,700 (£2,200).
According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, algae is more likely to bloom in hot weather and there is no cure if dogs are poisoned by it.
In fact, exposure nearly always leads to death.
On top of that, it can be difficult to detect where algae blooms have formed. Some leave a mucky film on the top of the water, but others - like the one at the pond in Wilmington - show little trace.
It's better to keep your dogs away from ponds that look strange in colour or are murky, as well as those that smell bad.
The bacteria can also be harmful to humans too, so it goes without saying you should also stay out.
Featured Image Credit: Facebook