Toxic blue-green algae are killing dogs across the U.S. and it has been found in lakes in the Valley.
"It's kind of heartbreaking to hear that it's possibly life-threatening if they get into the algae," Melissa Paintner, a West Fargo dog mom.
Multiple dogs have died in both North Carolina and Massachusetts. People in our area are just as vulnerable.
"I think a lot of people don't realize just how toxic it can be,” said Natalie Gruchow, a certified veterinary practice manager at Animal Health Clinic. “Just a small amount, it doesn't take much."
Gruchow says blue-green algae can pop up in any body of water. That's why it's so important to check the water before you or your dog get in.
"It can cause anything from vomiting, diarrhea, to stiffness, to seizures, and then of course death," Gruchow said.
Blue-green algae are often described as scum floating on the water looking similar to spilled green paint or pea soup.
Gruchow says if your dog does come into contact with water that may have blue-green algae, you need to act fast.
"Remove from the situation and then hose them down with fresh water, try to provide some fresh drinking water to try to dilute out some of that toxin," Gruchow said.
As of August 8, there are more than a dozen locations with blue-green algae in North Dakota.
There is a full list of locations online.
Officials say just because you can’t see the scum on top of the water doesn't mean the blue-green algae isn't there. They say it's best to just play it safe and stay out of the water.
For a list of locations or to report an area with blue-green algae: https://deq.nd.gov/WQ/3_Watershed_Mgmt/8_HABS/Habs.aspx