The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued an animal safety alert related to algae blooms, according to the Martin County EOC which posted a message on its website.
Nearly 60,000 people in Martin County received an alert on their phone or email warning them about the toxic effects blue-green algae is having on pets in the area.
The alert went out just days after a necropsy confirmed a dog died in Martin County after ingesting cyanobacteria.
The dog, a standard poodle named Finn, passed away just one day after swallowing the water.
Finn’s owner, Alex Aydelotte, is glad to see the county going the extra mile to spread the warning about the dangers of the algae to keep pets safe.
“He was a special dog, yea. Part of the family,” Aydelotte said. “Finn was a very active, healthy, happy standard poodle. He grew up on the water,” Aydelotte said.
Finn slipped out a backyard fence briefly on Labor Day. It wasn’t long before his family found him.
“Everything was fine, he was soaking wet. Not from what I thought was the river. It happened to be pouring rain,” Aydelotte said.
That evening, Finn threw up one time, which wasn’t unusual for the dog known to chew up toys. But, this was different.
“It smelled distinctly different. I told my wife as I was cleaning it up, this smells awful,” Aydelotte said.
By the morning, Finn’s symptoms got worse and they took him to the vet. He passed away later that day.
Once the necropsy found Finn had high levels of cyanobacteria in his system, Martin County and Stuart officials took note.
“This was really the first documented case with an animal for us in Martin County,” said Martin County spokeswoman Martha Ann Kneiss.
As a result of Finn’s death and at least three other dogs getting sick from cyanobacteria, Martin County and Stuart sent out Code Red alerts, or reverse 911 calls.
It was the first time the county has sent a Code Red alert related to algae.
“We don’t take that lightly,” Kneiss said. “We just felt like this was county-wide information, whether you live near the water or not. We all love our animals and we all travel with our animals,” Kneiss said.
Aydelotte hopes sharing his story will help other families keep their pets safe, and keep anyone else from experiencing their grief.
“Hopefully this will help trigger some type of solution, solutions that need to be implemented to really stop the discharges from Lake Okeechobee.”
Sign up for Code Red alerts at www.martin.fl.us/codered.
The @CDCgov has issued an animal safety alert related to algae blooms. The CDC advises pet and livestock owners, if there is a potential cyanobacteria bloom, "When in doubt, it's best to keep out! Read more http://t.co/8vhD58YoX9pic.twitter.com/eCV2JDdUVR
— Martin County BOCC (@MartinCountygov) September 19, 2018
Do not let your pets or livestock graze near, drink, or swim in water where you see cyanobacteria blooms, foam, or scum on the surface.
If your animal gets in water with a bloom, immediately wash it off with clean water. Do not let the animal lick cyanobacteria off of its fur.
Call a veterinarian if your animal shows any of these symptoms of cyanobacteria poisoning: loss of energy, loss of appetite, vomiting, stumbling and falling, foaming at the mouth, diarrhea, convulsions, excessive drooling, tremors and seizures, or any unexplained sickness that occurs within a day or so after being in contact with water