Warmer weather means a lot of things, but unfortunately it also means dangerous algae in ponds. According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, a majority of the dangerous blooms are easy to spot, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case for Andrew Ancans.
Ancans had four dogs die before he could figure out what it was that was killing them on his 20 acre property in Evart.
“It killed an 85 pound strapping German shorthair in 45 minutes. EGLE (MI Dept of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy) identified it and identified that it was producing Anatoxin-A,” Ancans told Fox 17 Wednesday.
Unfortunately it was invisible so Ancans had no way of knowing that his dogs drinking from the pond would prove deadly.
“It’s the same toxin that is on poison dart frogs in the Amazon. It lives along the bottom of the muck and when you look at the pond, it’s clear. Well it was clear last-year too,” Ancans added that when he pulled weeds or walked in the muck, that stirred up the toxins that proved deadly.
The MDHHS says the more common algae we should look out for fortunately is visible.
“Cyanobacteria or blue-green algae can produce toxins called cyanotoxins that can make humans and animals sick. Cyanobacterial blooms typically look like water that may have spilled paint or a scum or a sheen on the surface of the water." warned Toxicologist Alex Rafalski of the MDHHS. "Typically green or blue-green, though they can be different colors like red or purple, the water may also look like it has floating mats or scums or flecks, so generally we advise that if people see conditions like that, discoloration of the water, that they keep themselves and pets out of that water,”
The MDHHS recommends you shower and wash off your pets if they’ve been in pond water to avoid them from licking their paws which may contain toxins. Ancans meanwhile is taking no chances with his dogs this Summer, he is having his pond treated just in case the toxins were to form again. He told us, “They treated it Monday with another type of chemical and then they’re going to come Friday and this will be a more permanent fix.”