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Distraught dog owners have been left baffled and heartbroken after their beloved pets dropped dead just hours after being poisoned by toxic algae.
The infection has spread across the UK's lakes and ponds this summer and claimed the lives of four dogs in Sussex, Cheshire, Edinburgh and Northern Ireland.
Dogs - Water - Walk - Hours
Dogs went swimming in the infected water while out for a walk and died just hours later.
A dog owner in Sheffield and another in Cornwall also reported their animals fell ill after heading into algae-contaminated water.
Algae - Mother - Swan - Cygnet - Southampton
The algae has also killed a mother swan and a cygnet which became unwell on Southampton Common, Hants, and the park pond they were found dying in was later fenced off.
The turquoise algae contains cyanobacteria, which release toxins causing liver damage to humans and animals who swim in it or ingest it.
Breathing - Problems - Fits - Brain - Damage
This can lead to severe breathing problems, fits, brain damage, and other fatal conditions within minutes.
While most blue-green algae do not contain cyanobacteria, it is impossible to detect the poisonous algae visually.
Veterinary - Association - Rise - Algae - Temperatures
The British Veterinary Association said the rise in toxic algae was triggered by rising temperatures over the summer.
BVA's Junior Vice President Daniella Dos Santos...
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