Toxic algae that killed 2 dogs found again in Napa pond

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NAPA (BCN) A toxic algae that was linked to the death of two dogs in June has been found in a pond in the Huichica Creek unit of the Napa-Sonoma Marshes Wildlife area, Napa County Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Relucio said this afternoon.

The dangerous levels of microcystin produced by blue-green algae were found in the same pond at the end of Milton Road in Napa. The property is owned by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Warning signs were posted in the area and additional testing was conducted earlier this week to determine the toxicity of the water, Relucio said. The results came back Wednesday evening.

"There was a preliminary positive test then another test to determine the levels of the toxin," Relucio said. Two dogs that were at the pond June 23 died the next day, Relucio said. Someone, probably the owner, posted a sign about the dogs' deaths then another person put up a hand-written warning sign about the algae, Relucio said.

"If a body of water has a lot of algae or scum floating in it, it's best for you and your pets to avoid the water," Relucio said in a news release.

The algae blooms are seasonal and grow faster in summer, Relucio said.

The algae produce toxins that can cause eye irritation, skin rashes, mouth ulcers, vomiting, diarrhea and flu-like symptoms, Napa Public Health said.

The blue-green algae poisoning is most common in pets because they tend to drink the water, but children and adults can experience serious injury to the liver, kidney and nervous system if they swallow the water. Medical treatment should be sought immediately.