Lough Neagh: Dog owners warned of poisonous algae and plant

by | May 26, 2023 | Science

Dog owners have been warned of a poisonous algae and toxic plant on the Lough Neagh shoreline in Antrim.Tests were carried out near Rea’s Wood following a report that a dog had died after it had been in the water.The Northern Ireland Environment Agency was alerted to the pet’s death on 19 May.It carried out a number of tests over several days to investigate evidence of algal bloom.Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council said a sample taken on Tuesday confirmed small amounts of an algae called Microcystis sp had washed up on the shoreline.Microcystis sp is a blue-green algae that can produce toxins which are highly poisonous and often fatal to pets.’Most poisonous indigenous plant’The council said a large amount of the toxic but fairly common plant hemlock water dropwort was also seen growing in the wooded area along Rea’s Wood.In a safety update posted online, it stated: “Hemlock water dropwort (poison parsnip) is perhaps the most poisonous indigenous plant in Britain and Ireland. Hemlock water dropwort is toxic to humans and animals if ingested”This is a native plant, not an invasive species, and it grows mostly in wet meadows along river courses and adjacent to lakes.”It is highly toxic to humans and domesticated animals if ingested – although the roots are more toxic than the above-ground parts.”The council has erected new signs warning the public of the toxic plant and algae, and advising dog owners keep their pets on leads at all times.”Dog own …

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