Three dogs confirmed sick from ingesting Cyanobacteria in Martin County waterways, more to be tested

Posted at 10:06 PM, Sep 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-17 09:30:45-04

MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. -- At least seven dogs have gotten sick, with one dying, in less than two weeks in Martin County.

Now, the sheriff’s office is getting involved to determine if there is something criminal going on.

But, so far, all signs point to one common thread between the cases: the dogs all live on or near the water.

Sgt. Patrick Colasuonno oversees Animal Control and says three of the seven dogs’ test results came back positive for Cyanobacteria, found in blue-green algae.

Colasuonno was first contact by a local veterinarian concerned about the similarities in the cases.

“They had a rash of cases with very similar symptoms and they asked me to come in and do an investigation,” Colasuonno said.

Initially, Colasuonno said they symptoms would make you think the dogs had been poisoned.

They had vomit that smelled more foul than usual, they could not control their bowel movements, they were fatigued and had no appetite.

“We don’t know if there’s any criminal activity going on. These dogs were in serious need of medical attention.”

But with the three test results finding Cyanobacteria, he’s leaning less toward the likelihood this is criminal. However, he would not close his case until the other 4 are tested. 

“We don’t want to see these animals go through what these animals [went through]. Even the ones that survived, it’s a very difficult process for the owners and the animals.”

If you do suspect your dog is sick because of exposure to the river, Colasuonno says you can help vets confirm whether the water made them sick by taking a sample of their vomit.

The symptoms, he said, set in anywhere from one hour to 12 hours later. He said you should take your pet to the veterinarian immediately if you suspect they are sick.