Several media outlets have reported that Waverly Beach on Lake Washington in Kirkland has been closed due to dangerous amounts of toxic blue-green algae that have accumulated there.
Normally, algae becomes toxic when warm weather and more activity in the lake stir up phosphorus sediments from the bottom of the lake and other nutrients that the algae feed on. It usually shows up in the fall when lake water in the Seattle area are at their warmest.
Maybe our warmer than usual winter is the reason we are seeing it so early in the year.
This is the first report of toxic algae in Kirkland that I’ve heard about. It has shown up in the fall in Green Lake for the last 3 years, and in January it closed the beach on Lake Washington in the Magnuson Off-Leash Dog Park.
If your dog is exposed to toxic algae, take it to a veterinarian or animal hospital immediately.
Exposure to toxic algae even in small amounts, can cause severe liver and neurologic toxicity in dogs. A dog exposed to toxic algae can also contract respiratory paralysis which can kill it within 30 minutes from the start of these symptoms: tremors, weakness, drooling, paralysis, muscle rigidity, involuntary urination and defecation, and seizures.
People and pets should not wade or play in the lake where the scum has accumulated and dogs should not drink from the lake in these areas.
The Washington State Department of Health (DOH) warns that blue-green algae blooms can be different in colors, may appear as foam, scum or streaks on the surface of water and can poison animals, wildlife, and people. To report toxic algae, contact Seattle-King County Public Health at 206-296-4600.
I will post updates about the condition of the water at Waverly Beach as I get them. In the meantime, keep your dog away from the water there.