Toxic blue-green algae found at Auditorium Shores — keep dogs out of Lady Bird Lake

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Toxic blue-green algae, which is known to be dangerous to pets, has been detected at Auditorium Shores, located at Town Lake.

Last week, Austin Watershed Protection Department began testing algae samples found in the area for possible toxins — samples that have tested positive for toxic algae called cyanobacteria.

The blue-green algae is also still being found in the algae at Festival Beach and Red Bud Isle.

Last year, blooms and toxins from the algae resulted in the death of at least five dogs after they swam in the water.

Cyanobacteria is blue-green in color and is dangerous to both humans and animals.

When dogs ingest contaminated water, city officials say it can cause them to experience a range of symptoms, including excessive drooling, foaming at the mouth, vomiting, diarrhea, stumbling, muscle twitches and respiratory paralysis.

What could zebra mussels have to do with it?

According to John Higley, CEO of EQO, an Austin-based biotech company that helps manage invasive species, zebra mussels are likely one culprit contributing to the rise of blue-green algae.

Invasive Zebra mussels are razor sharp — easily cutting through clothing — and Travis County Parks officials said last summer that several swimmers reported injuries because of them. They attach to boats and most hard surfaces in water bodies, officials say.

Experts say the mussels feed on “good” algae and release blue-green algae back into the water.

Anyone who believes they have seen zebra mussels in Texas waterways is encouraged to email photos and location information to aquaticinvasives@tpwd.texas.gov and report the sighting by calling (512) 389-4848.

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