Toxic algae detected at 10 sites around Lake Travis, LCRA urges dog owners to be aware

Travis County

LAKE TRAVIS, Texas (KXAN) — The Lower Colorado River Authority reported Friday night samples of algae taken from 10 sites around Lake Travis showed the presence of cyanotoxins.

Small amounts of cyanotoxins also showed up in water samples taken from three sites — Bob Wentz, Sandy Creek and Arkansas Bend. 

LCRA is now urging pet owners to keep their dogs away from algae in any of the Highland Lakes. They should not eat or play in it.

“We can’t stress this enough – out of an abundance of caution, do not let your dogs touch or ingest algae from the lakes,” said John Hofmann with LCRA in a press release. “We know even a little toxicity from blue-green algae can be harmful or even fatal to dogs.”

LCRA said the 10 areas are:

  • Arkansas Bend Park
  • Bob Wentz Park
  • Comanche Point
  • Cypress Creek Park
  • Lakeway City Park
  • Mansfield Dam Park
  • Pace Bend Park
  • Sandy Creek Park
  • Tom Hughes Park
  • Travis Landing

The algae samples were collected March 3 and included floating algae in cove areas, algae on the bottom of the lake in shallow areas and decaying algae along the shore — all typically brown or dark green in color.

While the cyanotoxins were detected, LCRA said it hasn’t gotten any more reports of dogs becoming sick after swimming in Lake Travis in the last two weeks.

LCRA will collect more water and algae samples from other parts of the lake next week.

Last month, LCRA starting receiving reports of dogs becoming sick after swimming in the Hudson Bend area of the lake. Two dogs died.

Are cyanotoxins harmful to humans?

Harmful algal blooms in freshwater environments can cause skin, eye, nose, throat and respiratory irritation for humans if you breathe in the toxins as a mist or have direct contact on your skin, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

No human deaths caused by cyanotoxins have been reported in the United States, the CDC said, but dogs are especially at risk for poisoning because of their behaviors, like licking algae or scum from their fur after swimming.

Contact your health provider if you believe you’ve developed symptoms from cyanotoxins.

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