Brazos River Authority: Toxin present at Lake Belton suspected in recent dog deaths

the Brazos River Authority, at the request of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, tested for...
the Brazos River Authority, at the request of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, tested for cyanotoxin, or blue-green algae blooms, on Lake Belton. (File)(WCAX)
Published: Mar. 22, 2021 at 8:00 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 23, 2021 at 7:00 PM CDT
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BELTON, Texas (KWTX) - The Brazos River Authority, at the request of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, conducted testing for cyanotoxin, or blue-green algae blooms, on Lake Belton and learned bacteria containing the toxin is not only present at the lake, but also suspected in the recent deaths of dogs that had visited the lake.

“Samples of solid material, algae and decaying algae, contained significantly higher levels of cyanotoxin was detected in the water,” the authority said.

“It is suspected that the bacteria is responsible for the deaths of several dogs at Belton Lake this month,” the authority said.

Officials said that if consumed by pets, toxic blue-green algae can lead to severe illness or death.

Four dogs have died after their owners visited the lake since the February storm, the lake’s manager said.

The dogs either consumed the algae by drinking the water it was in or by licking their fur after they were in the water.

Officials advised residents whose dogs enter the water to rinse the pets with clean water as soon as they get out of the lake.

Residents are advised to avoid still water and coves at the lake and only to allow pets in the water when it’s clear enough to see the lake bottom.

There’s no evidence that suggests the algae will impact wildlife and residents shouldn’t worry about eating fish caught in the lake as long as they don’t’ consume the organs.

The BRA has reported lab findings to the Bell County Public Health District and Texas Department of State Health Services and is awaiting further guidance from epidemiologists.

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