While toxic blue-green algae blooms appearing in Idaho's lakes and ponds isn't uncommon, it can be scary for pet owners. 

On Tuesday, the Idaho Humane Society shared a post on their Facebook page reporting that the blooms have been found twelve bodies of water since late July, including Lake Lowell in Canyon County. The advisory for Lake Lowell went into effect on August 6.

Known by it's scientific name, cyanobacteria, the algae produces toxins that are dangerous to both humans and pets. According to Everyday Health, the bacteria is normally so small that you can't see it with the naked eye but as the weather heats up, the population gets larger, producing a visible "bloom." Some people describe the algae as looking like chunky guacamole, paint swirls or pea soup.

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Humans and pets can be exposed to the toxins by swimming or playing in contaminated water, ingesting contaminated fish or by swallowing contaminated water. The toxins algae can cause humans to experience unpleasant symptoms like skin irritation, upset stomach, headaches and hay fever.

The symptoms can be more lethal for dogs. According to the American Kennel Club, signs of blue-green algae poisoning in dogs include diarrhea, vomiting, drooling, neurologic signs like weakness, disorientation, collapse, unconsciousness, seizures and breathing difficulties. They can show up anywhere between 15 minutes to several days after contact with the algae.

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If you fear that your dog has come in contact with the algae, you should rinse their fur with clean water and call your veterinarian immediately.

In 2018, a Boise woman reported that her dog died on a Rexburg beach the same day it played in contaminated water. When sharing the Humane Society's post, Carly A. said her three year old German Shorthair dies within 30 minutes of exposure in 2013.

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