A single social media post was enough to terrorize dog owners. “Following a walk at the Fontmerle pond in Mougins, my dog is at the vet in critical condition because of the bacteria he caught in the water”, warns a young woman, on Facebook. Namely, cyanobacteria, also called “blue algae”.
Her message, in which the young woman advises Internet users to “be very carrefully”has been shared more than seven hundred times on different Facebook groups.
In the comments, same runaway. Because there is something! These toxin-producing micro-organisms (hepatotoxins, neurotoxins and dermatotoxins) mainly develop in stagnant water that is prohibited for swimming.
When environmental conditions, such as high temperatures and lack of water, are favorable to them, they can proliferate rapidly and massively on the surface. Sometimes in just a few days.
Their “inhalation” or their “accidental ingestion” can “be fatal”warns the Ansens site (national agency for food, environmental and occupational health safety).
“Animal mortalities, mainly dogs, but also sometimes cattle or wildlife, have been recorded in recent years following exposure to blooms of toxoid-producing cyanobacteria”.
Despite the health risk that these cyanobacteria can cause, his post intrigued other Internet users. Was the animal really contaminated by these microorganisms? With what water did he quench his thirst? Did she carry out analyzes to be able to shout it loud and clear?
First of all, it should be noted that the owner’s speech is changing as to the place where her malinois, aged eleven months, would have drunk: in the exchanges, we speak first of the pond of Fontmerle, then of a canal , finally a fountain.
Without providing any proof, the owner of the dog immediately proclaimed loud and clear that it was cyanobacteria poisoning.
In the process, she opened an online kitty for “help him pay” treatment billed (500 euros) by the Clausonnes veterinary clinic in Valbonne.
And for good reason, his four-legged companion, suffering from vomiting and diarrhea following this famous walk, was infused and hospitalized.
“Some people think I’m lying and called the vet clinic to make sure my dog was sick”says the concerned.
The diagnosis falls
Verdict? “We diagnosed viral gastroenteritis of unknown origin, says Doctor Paoletti. It could be any virus.”
Whose cyanobacteria? “It’s a suspicion among others. But it has clearly not been identified. The dog did not present any neurological or hepatic problem except when he was admitted, since he staggered and showed weakness” .
The veterinarian remains cautious. For him, the doubt remains because poisoning with cyanobacteria could cause these kinds of symptoms.
Only additional examinations would make it possible to be certain. Problem? Their cost: “a good hundred euros”according to Doctor Paoletti. “His care had already cost me almost 500 euros, I couldn’t pay more”regrets the owner of the doggie.
Why is she pointing the finger at these microorganisms in question, then? “I described my dog’s condition to the Cyanobacteria Alert Facebook group. I was told the story was similar to cyanobacteria poisoning.” That’s all.
No clinical cases
For its part, the Clausonnes team ensures that it has not “no clinical case”. Also requested, “the Valmasque Departmental Park teams have not observed any impact on the fauna present in the pond”. Especially since no deceased duck has been identified, according to the county council.
“This story is taking on crazy proportions on the networks, observes Doctor Paoletti. We must not fall into psychosis.” Before making dog owners aware of the “leash walks”. “During this period, they must not wander unsupervised. Nor drink stagnant water.”
As for the Malinois in question: his health improved after symptomatic treatment.