Dog dies after drinking water from Lake Jordan, NC environmental health officials conduct tests; warn pet owners

RALEIGH, NC (WTVD) – This past weekend, Rick Cobb went on a boat trip with several other boaters, according to a comment he made on the NC Department of Environmental Quality website. His group was near the Farrington Point boat ramp.

Earlier that evening, Cobb said one beagle in the group he was with developed trouble breathing, a rapid heartbeat and bloating. In Cobb’s citizen report to the agency, he said he believes the dog entered the early stages of cyanobacteria toxin poisoning due to her vomiting, liver failure, excessive salivation, eventual seizures and premature death — all within an hour.

“I have witnessed this before and can confirm, in my estimation, that the death was caused by the blue-green algae bloom (cyanobacteria toxicity),” Cobb said in his complaint to the agency. “I have not personally witnessed the origin of the flower, and the pet may have injected (ingested) a branch or log on the beach with the poison. The water itself is believed to have been contaminated, but we check every source for that because.”

The NCDEQ received the complaint and had water samples taken on Monday.

Jordan Lake regular Bob Wehrenberg takes his dog to the lake almost every day. However, following news of the death over the weekend, he is reconsidering how comfortable he and his dog will be in the water.

“Now that I’ve heard that, he’ll have to stay out of the water for a bit until we know what’s going on out here,” Wehrenberg said. “Right now I think the most important thing is to let everyone know they know something is going on and everyone to be very cautious until we get a definitive response from wildlife or whoever.”

Other visitors to the lake were surprised Monday by officials’ lack of warning of the potential danger lying in the water.

“We just thought they were going to put up a sign out there to warn everyone… it’s concerning,” said one man. “I just wish they were more informative about what’s going on.”

Cyanobacteria are a dangerous toxin for humans and can be deadly for animals when blue-green algae blooms form. Traces of these bacteria are typical in summer, according to NCDEQ.

A water test conducted by field workers Monday found no visible signs of algae in the area. However, a quick test showed that some potentially toxin-producing cyanobacteria were present in the water. But the amount was not enough in “flower amounts” that could have resulted in the death of the dog.

The Division of Water Resources with NCDEQ will conduct additional testing in their chemistry lab to determine if a concentration of microcrystin is present and the number of algal cells present.

Environmental health experts urge pet owners to keep their pets away from discolored water, which can be green, blue, red, or sometimes brown.

Also, be on the lookout for water that looks like spilled paint and surface mud, mats, or film.

If you wish to report a concern to the appropriate authority, you can do so here.

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About Clayton Arredondo

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