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Menomonie man suspects Lake Menomin algae killed dog

Published: Jun. 22, 2021 at 9:37 PM CDT
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MENOMONIE, Wis. (WEAU) - A Menomonie man is looking for answers after his dog died earlier this month from what he believes was toxins in Lake Menomin.

Cody Christianson brought his dog, Bingley, to Wakanda Park, which is on the lake, June 8 to play disc golf.

Christianson and “Bing,” which he called his dog, had gone to the park many times before then.

On that hot day, Bing, who Christianson said was on a leash, decided to go in the water cool down. Minutes later Christianson noticed something was wrong.

“I walk up to him and just see the eyes were rolled up into the back of his head so far, a little bit of foam at the mouth,” he said.

Christianson said Bing then started seizing so he rush the dog to the vet. Bing died.

Christianson said he thought his dog died from heat stroke. The vet said it may have been something else.

“She informed me that his liver toxicity levels were off the charts,” Christianson said.

He said the suspected culprit was toxins from blue-green algae blooms in the lake.

Tim Asplund with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said those toxins can be deadly to humans and animals.

“These can have detrimental effects at really high levels, neurological effects and gastrointestinal effects,” he said.

Asplund said while the toxins can cause skin irritation, the only way to get a fatal dose is through ingestion.

He adds, blue-green algae blooms come and go but cleaning them from the water is hard. Though common to the lake, they aren’t very common in June.

Christianson said he wants more signage near the lake warning people about the potential hazard.

“I haven’t seen them,” he said. “It’s clearly not well-known to everybody.”

Christianson said if he’d seen the warning signs, he wouldn’t have let Bing go into the water.

Dunn County Health Department Director KT Gallagher said there is signage at the Lake but admits there could be more. She said the department is working on installing bigger and better signs.

Asplund said the DNR and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services are investigating the incident.

Christianson said he hopes his story will serve as a warning to dog owners.

For more information on protecting yourself from blue-green algae toxins, click here.

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