(FOX 2) - On a hot summer day, your cute and furry friend may look to cool off.
But now we are being warned - dogs that drink out of bodies of water where blue green algae lurk - could get very sick and die.
"Blue green algae has been around for a long time, it's just we are seeing bigger blooms of it because we are having a warmer climate. And two, because of the amount of fertilizer we are putting in lakes and streams," said Dr. Judy Fleischaker.
Fleischaker from Oakland Veterinary Referral Service in Bloomfield Hills specializes in emergency and critical care. She says so far they have treated one dog that was infected by the toxins. Bloodwork showed the cause of death was a combination of water toxicity and blue green algae.
"It produces a neuro toxin causes seizure tremor coma even death," she said. "It produces a more severe toxin which is a liver toxin. And that can cause liver failure which can be fatal to animals as well."
She says if you believe your dog may have been infected - there are signs and symptoms to look for. If not treated in time, the dog will likely die.
"If your dog comes out of a lake or waterway and is not acting right and acting wobbly, having tremors, get them to an emergency room right away it," Fleischaker said.
But there are ways to protect your pooch.
"The main thing we have to be cautious of, if we are allowing our animals to be in the lakes, limiting their time in the lakes, wash them off after they have been the lakes," she said. "If we limit their exposure, the chance of running into problems much less," Fleischaker said.
Many lakes monitor and treat the toxins that are produced by algae - and warn people to avoid exposure.
"If it is not safe to swim in for you it is not safe to swim in for the dogs," she said.
Blue green algae can also make humans sick. Symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, muscle cramps. Worst case scenario, people can experience cardiac, respiratory problems and liver failure.