Harmful algal blooms info at state parks alerts dog owners to potential risk

New York Sea Grant and New York State Parks have partnered to educate dog owners this summer by providing copies of the Dogs and Harmful Algal Blooms fact sheet and brochure developed by New York Sea Grant at several State Parks.

Harmful algal blooms, HABs, are a result of toxins produced by some cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae. When cyanobacteria blooms produce toxin, HABs can impact liver function, disrupt the nervous system, and cause skin irritation in humans, pets, waterfowl, and livestock.

The HABs information resources are being well-received by pet owners, according to park officials at Allegany, Bowman Lake, Delta Lake, Gilbert Lake, Long Point on Lake Chautauqua, Point Au Roche on Lake Champlain, Oquaga Creek, Sampson, Southwick, Verona Beach on Oneida Lake, and Westcott Beach State Parks.

Dogs can be particularly susceptible to the effects of HABs because of their behavior, sometimes drinking water from ponds, lakes, and streams; cleaning their wet fur, and consuming algal mats or scum with attractive odors, said NY Sea Grant Fisheries and Ecosystem Health Specialist Jesse Lepak.

The Dogs and Harmful Algal Blooms fact sheet and brochure answer these critical questions:
.  What are HABs?
.  When are HABs most likely to occur?
.  What do HABs look like?
.  How do you know if HAB toxins are present?
.  What are signs of possible cyanobacterial poisoning in dogs?
.  How can you reduce the risk to dogs from cyanobacterial toxins?
.  How can I report a possible HAB in New York State?
.  How can I reach a 24-Hour Pet Poison Hotline.

Digital versions of the HABs resources are online at www.nyseagrant.org/habs. The Web site also includes a link to New York State Department of Environmental Conservation monitoring for sites at risk for HABs.

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