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City of Austin: Time of increased risk for harmful algae approaches

As of June 17, the risk is low at Lady Bird Lake.

AUSTIN, Texas — Dog owners, stay aware. The City of Austin says we're transitioning to a time of increased risk of harmful blue-green algae.

The City said as of June 17, the risk is low and an inspection of Lady Bird Lake produced no concerning algae because although water temperatures are warming up, there is still a lot of flow through the lake. The City intends to check again at the beginning of July and will proceed to monitor the water weekly from then on.

The City recommends that you avoid stagnant areas on the lake and clumps of algae. You should also rinse your dog after they have contact with the water. If your dog becomes sick after swimming, take them to a veterinarian immediately.

Dogs who ingest algae with the cyanobacteria toxin could have a number of symptoms, including respiratory paralysis or death. The City says dogs can also be exposed by licking algae from their fur. Check for these signs in your pet within minutes to hours of exposure: 

  • Excessive drooling, vomiting and diarrhea
  • Foaming at the mouth
  • Jaundice and hepatomegaly
  • Blood in urine or dark urine
  • Stumbling
  • Loss of appetite
  • Photosensitization in recovering animals
  • Abdominal tenderness
  • Progression of muscle twitches
  • Respiratory paralysis


Toxic algae cost the City of Austin up to $35,500

Harmful algae levels on the decline, pets still urged to stay out of Lady Bird Lake

Blue-green algae: Why it's so deadly to dogs, and how you can keep your pet safe

Risks to humans is relatively low. To learn more about the algae, visit the City's designated algae page.

In 2019, Lady Bird Lake experienced a harmful bloom of blue-green algae, which sickened and killed several dogs. The algae also had a major impact on City spending: Austin’s Watershed Protection Department allowed spending up to $35,500 to conduct 13 water toxicity tests in Lady Bird Lake after scientists located the algae.

WATCH: Defenders: Austin spent thousands on algae testing at Lady Bird Lake