(Tunkwa Lake Resort)

Toxic algae near Kamloops, possibly linked to cattle deaths, sick dogs

The B.C. Environment Ministry website says the bacteria can cause skin rashes to stomach cramps

Visitors to a popular recreational lake in British Columbia’s southern Interior want better warnings about a potentially dangerous strain of algae suspected to be growing in the water.

Kamloops resident Anita Ashton says she and her family visited Tunkwa Lake, west of Kamloops, over the Labour Day weekend but the trip was interrupted when their dog Rufuss suddenly collapsed.

Ashton says the vet determined Rufuss would pull through but had likely consumed something that contained blue-green algae, an organism that produces cyanobacteria.

The B.C. Environment Ministry website says the bacteria can cause everything from skin rashes to stomach cramps and fever in humans, but it can be lethal to dogs, other animals such as cattle and even wildlife.

BC Parks posted a notice online Wednesday, warning it was testing for the possible outbreak of the algae in waters near the lagoon in the southwest corner of the popular recreational lake.

Ashton says there was no signage at the beach where her children were playing and where the dog is believed to have lapped up the potentially contaminated water and she wants BC Parks to do a much better job in future.

“I’ve just spoken with another vet in town who had another dog with the exact same case who barely made it as well,” she says.

She described how Rufuss suffered several seizures and was lifeless and foaming at the mouth as the family rushed him for care.

BC Cattlemen’s Association general manager Kevin Boon confirmed three cattle have died this summer since drinking water from the lake.

The bacteria thrive in phosphorus-laden waters with a high concentration of fertilizers, agricultural runoff or sewage, and Boon says blue-green algae is well known in Tunkwa Lake where ranchers have now blocked their cattle from reaching the water.

“This is something we see almost on an annual basis where we can see some sick cattle from it. It usually happens when we see these hot summer days,” he says.

Blue-green algae blooms were also reported this summer in lakes on Vancouver Island.

The Capital Regional District says there have been repeated outbreaks at Elk and Beaver lakes near Victoria and blooms were reported in several other lakes around southern Vancouver Island in 2016. (CFJC, CHNL)

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Chemainus Secondary’s Janet Ruest receives excellence award from Governor General

Chemainus Secondary School teacher Janet Ruest was recognized in Ottawa on Wednesday.

Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP seeks secret ballot to save abandoned vessels bill

Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP Sheila Malcolmson is seeking a secret ballot to save her private member’s bill.

Founder Smith’s vision will live on through the Chemainus Theatre Festival

Death of Ken Smith brings much reflection from a grateful community

B.C. Liberal leadership candidates debate different paths for party

Third debate held Sunday, Nov. 19 at Nanaimo’s Vancouver Island Conference Centre

UPDATE: More searchers out looking for missing senior near Nanaimo

Search and rescue personnel from all over the Island are looking for 73-year-old Faye Hanson

Charge laid against B.C. man in alleged cat torture

Joshua Michael Lemire, 20, has been charged with one count of causing unnecessary pain/suffering to an animal.

Oxford Dictionary responds by video to Victoria boy’s bid for levidrome

William Shatner tweet garners attention of Oxford

Site C allows more wind, solar energy, experts say

Lawyer, economist argue for completion of B.C. Hydro dam

Record-high temperatures reached in 18 spots in B.C.

White Rock, Victoria and the Fraser Valley made new records for the unusually warm November day

Supreme Court to hear case on whether ISPs can charge for IDing online pirates

Film producers seeking to crack down on people who share copyrighted material illegally

Canadian initiative fuelled by Terry Fox’s dream may be only hope for young cancer patients

Young cancer patients in rural or remote areas did not always get the testing available

Olympic gymnastics ex-doctor pleads guilty to sex charges

Aly Raisman, McKayla Maroney and Gabby Douglas are among the women who have publicly said they were among Nassar’s victims

Education minister blasts Chilliwack school trustee on gender issues

Fleming calls Neufeld’s behaviour ‘shameful’ and ‘unacceptable’

Most Read