Wigan dog owners are being warned about the dangers of potentially fatal algae poisoning this summer.
My Pets Vets Ltd, which has surgeries in Lowton and Leigh, is warning animal lovers to be careful when taking their pets swimming in lakes and ponds.
The practice has highlighted the presence of blue-green algae, which can have harmful and even life-threatening effects if swallowed.
The veterinarians took to Facebook to give their advice for dog owners when out and about in nature.
They said: “If your dog is a water fan and doesn’t miss an opportunity to jump in the lake and go for a swim, this post is for you!
“As you’ve probably already noticed, around this time of year you can see green flakes or bundles in freshwater ponds and lakes that resemble algae. However, some people are not aware that these can be very dangerous to their pets.
“These structures, usually known as blue-green algae, are formed by cyanobacteria, which can produce toxins that are harmful and can even be fatal when ingested. Signs of intoxication include drooling, vomiting, diarrhoea, disorientation, weakness, seizures and breathing difficulties.
”If you notice your dog showing any of these signs, seek veterinary assistance immediately.
“The sooner treatment is started, the better the chances of recovery.”
Not all blue-green algae does produce toxins but it is not possible to determine the presence of toxins without testing.
All blooms should be considered potentially toxic.
Very small exposures, even a few mouthfuls of contaminated water, can result in fatal poisoning.
Pennington Flash is one of several nature reserves plagued by the toxic substance in the past.
Just last year Wigan Council put out a warning to swimmers and pet owners urging them to avoid any contact with the water as there were dangerous levels of blue-green algae in the water.
The warning came just a week before the Ironman competition took place in the borough, which included a 2.4km swim through Pennington Flash.
Despite the concerns, the swimming leg of the race still went ahead.