Toxic algae blooms are being investigated as the possible cause of death for a dog who passed away after recently swimming in the Columbia River.

Two other dog deaths were mistakenly reported by the health district. It's been learned that the dogs have recovered.

The dogs were swimming over the weekend at Howard Amon Park, Leslie Groves Park, and near Ringold.

According to a statement from the Benton Franklin Health District, water samples were collected and warning signs posted. Harmful algae blooms were discovered in some Washington rivers and lakes.

Dogs and other animals are exposed to toxic algae after drinking contaminated water or licking bacteria from their fur.

If you believe your pets or livestock have been exposed to toxic algae, wash them with clean water to stop them from licking their fur.

Signs that your animals may have been exposed to a harmful bloom include vomiting and diarrhea, loss of coordination, possible tremors, and seizures.

Earlier this year, Scooteney Reservoir was closed due to toxic algae.

Immediate treatment is important if you believe your pets or livestock have been exposed. If you know your dog consumed algae, it's imperative that you get immediate veterinary care.

People who swim in contaminated water should wash off with soap and water. If you have symptoms, you should seek immediate medical care.

Algae blooms vary in appearance, however, look like pea soup or are blue-green or turquoise. Toxicity varies and it's not possible to determine how dangerous a bloom is just by sight. Testing must be done.

You can read more about the toxic situation here.

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To prepare yourself for a potential incident, always keep your vet's phone number handy, along with an after-hours clinic you can call in an emergency. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center also has a hotline you can call at (888) 426-4435 for advice.

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