(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

Line break shuts off agriculture water in Black Mountain

BMID says no outdoor watering allowed until repair to line is complete

Young boy struck by car in West Kelowna

Boy, believed to be aged 6, treated at the scene by paramedics

Kelowna’s Pandosy Village Business Association looks to attract shoppers

Merchants to hold their annual Love Our Village Day promotional event Saturday

Updated: Kelowna cops investigating a serious hit and run Friday afternoon

Police say BMW driver fled the scene after a pedestrian was seriously injured on Rutland Road North

Bears are back and they’re hungry

WildSafeBC wants to reduce wildlife conflicts in West Kelowna/Peachland

What’s happening

Follow Social Squad memeber Matthew Abrey to find out what’s happeing this weekend

Trump sends letter to Trudeau calling for increase in NATO defence spending

The letter comes as tensions between Canada and the United States have risen to a dramatic high

Horse put down, 1 person in hospital after hit by car in Lower Mainland

Accident along 132nd Avenue in Maple Ridge Friday afternoon

Electoral reform vote in B.C. includes $500,000 each for pro and con groups

A mail-in ballot referendum will take place Oct. 22 to Nov. 30, asking two questions on voting

83-year-old inmate dies at medium-security prison in Mission

Correctional Services Canada says Ralph Whitfield Morris died in custody

Blue Jays closer Roberto Osuna suspended for 75 games

23-year-old pitcher faces assault charge

Vancouver Canucks tab Quinn Hughes with No. 7 overall pick in NHL draft

University of Michigan standout was second defenceman picked in first round

Gun, drugs and cash seized in arrest of alleged B.C. fentanyl dealer

Vancouver Island man Brent Connors is facing nine charges in relation to investigation

Jogger spent two weeks in U.S. detention centre after accidentally crossing B.C. border

Cedella Roman, 19, crossed the border while out for a run

Most Read