Wyomingites are being reminded to check on current recreational use advisories for publicly accessible waterbodies after two dogs died from cyanobacteria poisoning from a lake south of Laramie.

Cyanobacteria, also known as blue-green algae, can form blooms that produce toxins and other irritants that pose a health risk, especially to young children, pregnant women, people with weak immune systems and animals.

The harmful cyanobacterial blooms typically occur in still or slow-moving water as temperatures increase during the summer. They are episodic and can last for a few hours or a number of months.

The Wyoming Department of Health issues a recreational use advisory once the Department of Environmental Quality determines that harmful levels of cyanobacteria and/or toxins are present in the water.

If blue-green algae is present, the following is recommended:

  • Avoid contact with water in the vicinity of the bloom, especially in areas where cyanobacteria are dense and form scum.
  • Do not ingest water from the bloom. Boiling, filtration and/or other treatments will not remove toxins.
  • Rinse fish with clean water and eat only the fillet portion.
  • Avoid water spray from the bloom.
  • Do not allow pets or livestock to drink water near the bloom, eat bloom material or lick fur after contact.
  • If people, pets or livestock come into contact with a bloom, rinse off with clean water as soon as possible.

People should seek medical attention if they or their animal is experiencing adverse health effects after exposure to a cyanobacterial bloom.

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