Serving Franklin County, WA

Health officials testing for toxic algae

Three dogs die after swimming in Columbia River

RICHLAND — Benton-Franklin Health District officials are investigating the deaths of three dogs after they swam in the Columbia River near Leslie Groves and Howard Amon parks, as well as upstream.

The investigation includes the Richland area as well as Ringgold, in rural Franklin County, officials said.

Water samples were collected to determine if Columbia River water contains toxic algae.

Officials are looking for cyanobacteria blooms in the river, which, if swallowed, may cause animals and people to experience vomiting, diarrhea, loss of coordination, tremors and seizures.

"Prompt treatment is important in all cases of poisoning, but since blue-green algae attacks so fast, speedy intervention is critical," the agency said in a news release Monday, Sept. 13. "If you know your dog consumed algae, seek immediate medical care."

Toxic algae blooms can vary in appearance, but commonly look like pea soup or are blue-green or turquoise in color, officials said.


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