Belfast Telegraph

Puppy dies of 'algae poisoning' after swimming at Northern Ireland lake

Labrador Bella had jumped into the water at Craigavon Lakes for a swim last Thursday.
Labrador Bella had jumped into the water at Craigavon Lakes for a swim last Thursday.

A dog owner has spoken of her devastation after her puppy died of 'algae poisoning' following a swim in a Northern Ireland lake.

Natalie McVeigh had been out for a walk with her 16 month old Labrador Bella at Craigavon Lakes on the Tannaghmore Gardens side when she jumped in for a swim last Thursday.

Soon after Bella took very ill, with severe vomiting and diarrhea. Bella also become very lethargic and struggled to walk.

Ms McVeigh, who has an 11 week old baby girl, told the Newsletter: “I had thought she had maybe eaten something and took her to the vet who helped her with pain relief.

“He said he had seen many cases like this before and was very sure it was caused by algae poisoning.”

Tragically, Bella died on Monday, four days after taking ill.

Ms McVeigh, from Derrytrasna, said she and her husband are heartbroken.

“It has been awful. Bella just loved the water and I had never heard of algae poisoning before. I think there should be signs to warn dog owners.

“I am so glad we have the baby to keep us distracted from it all,” she said.

“If highlighting this saves just one dog, it will be a job well done.”

Sinn Fein councillor Catherine Nelson said she contacted Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Council over the matter.

“Upon receiving the devastating news that a much loved family pet has died following a swim in Craigavon Lakes I immediately contacted council officers," she said.

“The vet believes the death was caused as a result of algae poisoning.

“Council have agreed to test the lake as a matter of urgency. In the meantime I would ask dog owners to keep their pets out of the water.”

A spokesperson for Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Council said: “The lakes are inspected daily during the summer months and were inspected on Monday 22 July and Tuesday 23 July, and no issue with blue-green algae was identified.

“The council’s treatment regime combined with the unfavourable conditions for large algae blooms i.e. intermittent rain, fresh winds, low sunshine and moderate temperatures has resulted in the lake being in good condition all year.

“Council has also requested a further sample to be undertaken by Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) as an additional measure.

“In line with normal protocol, if an issue with blue-green algae was identified, information would be communicated to residents and visitors to advise them not to swim or to allow their dogs to swim or drink in that particular location by putting up signs and issuing posts on social media.”

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