Algae that can be harmful to dogs found in Overton Park lake, doctors say it can be deadly

WATCH: Toxic algae in lake water at Overton Park

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — According to a news release from the Overton Park Conservancy, blue-green algae, which can be harmful to dogs, has been found in Rainbow Lake.

"Blue-green algae, while it is present in many ecosystems and is often harmless, can occasionally produce toxins that can harm dogs if ingested," Overton Park Conservancy said.

Overton Park Conservancy said in the news release: 

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"Tests of Rainbow Lake revealed this week that there is blue-green algae present in the water, and that some toxins were being produced on the day of the testing. The lake's toxin levels are in the EPA's non-harmful range for human contact, but because dogs are more likely to ingest lake water, it's best to be even more cautious. (The EPA does not publish contact thresholds for dogs.)"

Overton Park Conservancy is urging visitors to comply with City of Memphis ordinance and leash dogs at all times in the park, except for inside the gates at Overton Bark.

The EPA said that the algae are releasing toxins that are harmless if you touch it, but local vets said it can be deadly if your dog drinks it.

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Dr. Will Sweet told FOX13, "a few sips of water can be potentially lethal… other things and parts of the toxins can cause liver failure. And the only way to determine that is through blood work."

So far, there haven't been any reported cases of dogs getting sick from the green-blue algae, but vets are now urging pets to keep a watchful eye.

Sweet said the best preventative measure is to keep animals on a leash and away from stagnant bodies of water.

"Keep them from being exposed from the blue-green algae."

Veterinarians recommend carrying fresh water with you in case your dog gets thirsty and needs
a drink.