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Toxic blue-green algae found at Sloan's Lake

Animals that ingest the algae could have neurological problems and liver failure, which can lead to death.

DENVER — Pet owners are being advised not to let their animals drink the water at Sloan's Lake after the Denver Department of Public Health & Environment (DDPHE) found a toxic form of algae in the water on Thursday. 

Blue-green algae is poisonous to dogs, cats, wildlife and other animals when it is drank or licked off fur. It can cause neurological problems and liver failure, which can lead to death. It's also poisonous to humans.

The algae blooms were found at Sloan's Lake on Thursday and a test of the water came back positive for blue-green algae toxins, DDPHE said. 

Warning signs advising people not to let their pets play in or drink the water have been posted at the park.

> Video above: Dog dies from suspected toxic algae exposure after swimming in Colorado pond

RELATED: Toxic blue-green algae a growing threat to dogs

If a dog gets into a harmful bloom, DDPHE advises the owner to rinse the animal off immediately with fresh, clean water.

Symptoms of a pet who has been poisoned by blue-green algae include:

  • diarrhea or vomiting
  • weakness or staggering
  • drooling
  • difficulty breathing
  • convulsions or seizures

DDPHE said these symptoms can appear anywhere from 15 minutes to several days after coming in contact with the algae.

RELATED: Be cautious of potentially harmful blue-green algae this summer

Water containing the toxic algae blooms look like pea-green paint or slime on the surface, DDPHE said. It typically develops when the weather has been warm and sunny for an extended period of time and wind will often concentrate the algae along the shoreline in areas where animals may drink or swim.

Toxic algae also often stink, sometimes producing a nauseating smell that attracts animals.

DDPHE said it believes the algae blooms will remain in the lake for at least another month or until temperatures start to cool. The department said it will continue to assess the level of toxins at the lake’s center to assure it is still safe for other uses like fishing.