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State environmental agency says it's conducting blue-green algae testing at Lake Allatoona

A Marietta couple says their dog died from exposure to the toxic algae after they went swimming at the lake last weekend.

CHEROKEE COUNTY, Ga. — Georgia’s Environmental Protection Division says it collected water samples from Lake Allatoona on Monday and will be testing for blue-green algae.

The Georgia EPD told 11Alive that it learned of the reports of algal bloom in Lake Allatoona on Monday, and collected samples from the site where the dog a is believed to have gotten sick and later died. 

The agency said the tests were shipped overnight to Georgia College and should be available either later Tuesday or Wednesday.

Dog owners around the state have been concerned since a couple shared the story of their border collie’s death last weekend. Morgan and Patrick Fleming said their dog, Arya, began vomiting on the way home after having “the best day playing ball and swimming around” at Lake Allatoona.

The dog died shortly after that. No autopsy was performed, but the Flemings said they believed blue-green algae was the cause.

Another case last weekend, in North Carolina, saw three dogs belonging to the same owner die after contact with the algae.


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The algae “blooms” are really a bacteria, cyanobacteria, that’s highly toxic to dogs and causes sudden liver failure. It’s most easily spotted by the thick, greenish muck it clumps together in at the surface of standing bodies of water like lakes and ponds.

The EPD said it had never before been notified of blooms in Lake Allatoona.

“However, we are aware that algal blooms have been observed in a couple of other lakes. In these lakes, the lake managers watch the bloom, kept EPD informed, but levels were not nigh enough to warrant swim advisories,” the agency said.

It added that it did its routine monitoring for water quality at five sites in the area of Lake Allatoona on Aug 1. Those sites included upstream from Allatoona Dam, Allatoona Creek upstream from I-75, mid-lake downstream from Kellogg Creek, Little River upstream from Highway 205, and Etowah River upstream from Sweetwater Creek.

The agency said the results in all those tests were normal.