Toxic algae: National Trust alert after dog dies at Woodchester Mansion lakes

DOG OWNERS are being warned to keep their pets on leads at a popular lake after toxic algae killed a dog after it went swimming in the water last week.

Resident Paige Weaver, 26, is ‘devastated’ after her beloved dog Bruce died just 20 minutes after jumping into Woodchester Park lake near Nailsworth earlier this month.

Bruce, a Staffy, was a healthy fit dog with no known health issues.

‘I don’t want it to happen to other people’s dogs’

She said there were no warning signs about the hazards of algae and she thought Bruce had died of a heart attack when the incident happened on Wednesday, August 10. 

The National Trust which owns the grounds surrounding the park is now asking visitors to keep away from the water and for dog owners to keep their pets on leads. 

“It’s just so sad and I don’t want it to happen to other people’s dogs,” said Paige, from Wotton-under-Edge.

“We just took him to do his favourite thing which is swimming at Woodchester Park and then he passed away within just 20 mins of getting out of the water.

Stroud News and Journal: Bruce, a Staffy, was a healthy fit dog with no known health issuesBruce, a Staffy, was a healthy fit dog with no known health issues

“He was absolutely fine when he first came out of the water but as soon as we were walking up the big hill back to the car he started having a seizure.

“I drove to the vets with Bruce on my friend’s lap but he died before we made it there. 

“We’re devastated, my partner was especially close to him, just like man’s best friend. 

“We thought he had a heart attack or a stroke as it all just happened so suddenly.”

Why is the algae dangerous? 

Blue-green algae known as cyanobacteria poses risks to the public and animal health when it forms blooms in freshwater in warm weather. 

Dogs can swallow it by drinking water from an affected lake or river or while licking their fur after going for a swim.

It’s even possible for dogs to come into contact with the bacteria even if they don’t go into the water for a paddle, as toxic blooms are often blown to the edges of water bodies.

Warning signs appear

Paige says since the incident warning signs have appeared.

“A few days later our friend said that signs were put up. We would’ve never have let Bruce in the water if we’d seen a warning,” she said. 

“We’re a bit disappointed the signs were put out too late for us as we could’ve avoided all of this.”

Visitors warned 

The National Trust has now issued a warning to anyone visiting Woodchester Park. 

A spokesperson said: “Blue-green algae can appear in the lakes at Woodchester Park during the summer and is commonly found in inland water bodies around the UK. 

Stroud News and Journal: Woodchester Park lakes near the mansion Woodchester Park lakes near the mansion

“We have displayed signage around the affected lake to warn visitors about the algae. 

“We’re asking visitors to keep away from the water and to keep dogs on lead.” 

Algae is toxic 

A spokesperson for Stroud District Council’s Animal Welfare Service said: “We are very sorry to hear of this incident and we await results of any tests.

“We endorse the National Trust’s advice to stay away from the water, not to let dogs drink from the lakes, and to keep them on a lead.

“Blue-green algae can be toxic to dogs, and animal welfare charity Blue Cross has extensive advice on this issue for pet owners including alerting a vet immediately if you suspect poisoning.”

Where to get advice 

Read more about Blue Cross’s advice for dog owners – bit.ly/3pxAXq8

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