INDIANA (FOX19) - Officials in southeast Indiana are warning people to keep themselves and their pets out of several bodies of water after the lakes tested positive for toxic blue-green algae.
The algae has been making headlines around the country because it can be dangerous for humans and deadly for dogs. There have been reports of dogs dying after being exposed to it in places like Georgia and North Carolina.
A Wilmington, North Carolina family lost three dogs within hours of exposure.
Experts say the bacteria often lives in standing bodies of water, especially when it is warm and sunny. Testing done by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management showed the algae is in Brookville Lake in Indiana. Officials also confirmed it is in Crystal Lake and Kathy Lake, which are both in the Hidden Valley Lake neighborhood.
Indiana state officials said the good news is that so far, there have not been any reports of dogs dying from the algae in Indiana.
However, experts like Cyndi Wagner, the chief of the Targeted Monitoring Section in the Office of Water Quality with IDEM, said it is better to take extra precautions because the toxic algae can make humans ill and can poison dogs in a matter of minutes.
“I wouldn’t let my dog drink water that I wouldn’t drink myself," Wagner said. “By the time they show symptoms of the toxicity, it’s almost too late to treat them, and there are not a lot of good treatments out there.”
Wagner said if you are not sure whether the algae is in your local lake, you should be safe to swim in the water, as long as you immediately wash yourself off.
“It’s generally safe to swim as long as you’re not drinking the water, and you take the shower, and keep your pets out of it," Wagner said.
Wagner said you cannot necessarily tell if blue-green algae is in water by only looking at the water. The sure way to know, she says, is through testing, which they will continue to do. There is additional information on IDEM’s website.
The ASPCA put out a pet safety alert for dog owners, highlighting signs and symptoms. You can read that here.