A POPULAR pond for dog walkers and wildlife has become covered in potentially deadly blue green algae.

The pond on Buckley Common is currently a covered with the algae - or cyanobacteria, which is a group of bacteria that can contain dangerous toxins which can be harmful and even fatal to our pets, livestock and birds if ingested even in small quantities.

It follows a warning from vets to dog owners following warm weather surge in toxic blue green algae across the UK.

The Leader: Buckley Common pond is covered in blue green algae. (Credit - Chris Deacon and daughter Jess)Buckley Common pond is covered in blue green algae. (Credit - Chris Deacon and daughter Jess)

The warning comes as at least one case of a dog death linked to blue green algae exposure was reported earlier this summer, in a British Bulldog in the Lake District.

Blue green algae blooms may appear as green or greenish-brown scum on the surface of water. Dogs can swallow it by drinking water from an affected lake, river or pond or while licking their fur after going for a swim.

Symptoms of exposure can appear within a few minutes or hours, depending on the type of toxin ingested, and commonly include: vomiting, diarrhoea, drooling, disorientation, trouble breathing, seizures and blood in faeces. If left untreated, it can cause liver damage and ultimately be rapidly fatal.

And Buckley residents have taken to social media to express their concerns over the current state of the pond.

One said: "Never seen the top common like that - very toxic", while another said it needs clearing up "to make the area safe for everyone again".

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) says it has contacted the landowner and has advised that appropriate signage is put in place to advise the public to stay away.

Anthony Randles, NRW environment team Leader for North East Wales, said: “Blue-green algae and other algal groups are important contributors to the aquatic biology of fresh and marine waters. In fresh waters, they’re suspended within the water or attached to rocks and other surfaces and naturally occur in inland waters, estuaries and the sea.

"Blooms can form when their numbers become excessive and can produce toxins. Our advice would be to avoid any areas where blooms and scums are suspected. These toxins can irritate human skin if contact is made, and illnesses if swallowed. It can be fatal for wild animals, farm livestock and domestic pets.

"If you have any concerns on incidents of blue-green algal blooms or scums, call our incident hotline: 0300 065 3000 (24 hours), and your local Natural Resources Management Officer can advise you on prevention, control and long-term management.”

The Leader: Buckley Common pond is covered in blue green algae. (Credit - Chris Deacon and daughter Jess)Buckley Common pond is covered in blue green algae. (Credit - Chris Deacon and daughter Jess)

British Veterinary Association President Daniella Dos Santos said: “We are hearing of increasing numbers of blue green algae sightings across the UK during this warm summer. We know that some dogs enjoy nothing better than a paddle in a cool lake while on a walk, but we’d urge pet owners to keep their dog on a lead during walks near water confirmed to have toxic algal blooms. While not all blue green algae are poisonous, it is impossible to tell the difference visually, so it is better to be safe than sorry.

“There is currently no known antidote for the toxins, so prompt veterinary treatment is the only way to tackle their effects and ensure a good chance of recovery for your pet. If you suspect your dog has been exposed to blue green algae, seek emergency veterinary treatment as soon as possible."

BVA has issued the following advice for pet owners:

  • Look out for any warning signs put up by the Environment Agency or local councils near water bodies.
  • Keep pets on a lead and by your side around water bodies known or suspected to have blue-green algal bloom – don’t let them swim in it or drink from it.
  • If your dog has been swimming outside, wash it thoroughly with clean water afterwards.
  • Seek emergency veterinary treatment in case you’re concerned it may have ingested toxic algae.