I was watching The Early Today Show on NBC while I was getting ready for work this morning and ABC World News Tonight while I was making dinner.  Both of them ran stories about a toxic blue-green algae that was killing pets in North Carolina, Texas and Georgia. Turns out the same nasty stuff is here in the Gem State. 

According to KMVT, unsafe levels of the algae have been detected in the water at the Magic Valley, Salmon Falls and Mormon Creek reservoir this summer. South Central Public Health District issued a public health warning advising people to stay out of the water at the Magic Valley Reservoir late last week.

Known by it's scientific name, cyanobacteria, the algae produces toxins that are dangerous to both humans and pets. According to Everyday Health, the bacteria is normally so small that you can't see it with the naked eye but as the weather heats up, the population gets larger, producing a visible "bloom." Some people describe the algae as looking like chunky guacamole, paint swirls or pea soup.

Under the advisory, humans, pets and livestock should avoid contact with the water. If you fear that your dog has come in contact with the algae, the American Kennel Club says you should rinse your their fur with clean water and call your veterinarian immediately. Signs of blue-green algae poisoning include diarrhea, vomiting, drooling, neurologic signs like weakness, disorientation, collapse, unconsciousness, seizures and breathing difficulties. They can show up anywhere between 15 minutes to several days after contact with the algae.

While there haven't been any reports of the blue-green in the Treasure Valley in 2019, it did temporarily cause restricted access to the swimming pond at Eagle Island last July.

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