An Australian shepherd named Nike is shown in a handout photo provided by its owner Shawn McFadden. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Shawn McFadden

Officials suspect algae in deaths of three dogs who played in Canadian river

Officials in New Brunswick are trying to determine what killed three dogs almost immediately after they were playing in the Saint John River.

Officials are trying to determine what killed three dogs almost immediately after they were playing in the Saint John River.

New Brunswick provincial veterinarian Jim Goltz says he is awaiting results from tests on two of the dogs to see if their sudden deaths were caused by exposure to blue-green algal toxicity.

He says both dogs had seizures and other signs of neurological disease before they died within a half hour of being in the river.

Two small dogs were together at Carleton Park near Fredericton when they began experiencing difficulty breathing and became disoriented moments after coming out of the water Sunday.

Another dog — an eight-month-old Australian shepherd named Nike — died suddenly Friday after playing in the river at a Hartt Island campground, about 10 kilometres away from Carleton Park.

Owner Shawn McFadden says the puppy started convulsing and vomiting before stopping breathing as the family rushed to the veterinarian.

Goltz stresses that they have not yet confirmed the deaths are linked to algal toxicity, but is advising people to keep their pets and children out of water near the two sites and anywhere there is a green scum on the water’s surface.

Related: Floodwaters in New Brunswick to rise for another day

Related: B.C. dog dies after suspected poisoning

The Canadian Press

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