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Oct 9, 2012 12:00 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Dog Dies After Ingesting Georgica Pond Water

Oct 16, 2012 5:04 PM

A dog died last month after apparently drinking water from Georgica Pond, according to scientists from Stony Brook University who were dispatched to the pond by the New York State Department of Health.

Dr. Christopher Gobler, a marine science professor at Stony Brook, said that he was informed by state health officials that at least two dogs had been playing by the pond shoreline on September 8. When one of the dogs did not come back, its owners went searching and found the dog lying unconscious along the shoreline. It died a short time later.

An autopsy revealed that the dog had died of liver failure and that its stomach contained pond water and high levels of a toxic cyanobacteria known as microcystin that can cause severe liver harm. The bacteria is a common by-product of blue-green algae blooms that flourish in many local freshwater ponds in late summer.

The state asked Dr. Gobler and lab students from Stony Brook to conduct water testing in the pond. The professor said that their testing, conducted on September 21, the same day they were notified of the dog’s death by the state, showed no presence of cyanobacteria—a circumstance Dr. Gobler said was not surprising given the time that had elapsed since the dog’s death.

“September is typically the worst month for cyanobacteria on the East End—cyanobacteria-related fish kills [that took place] in Lake Agawam and Mill Pond occurred in September 2006 and 2008, respectively,” Dr. Gobler said in an email last week. “For reasons scientists do not understand, dogs frequently drink lake water with cyanobacterial scums and every summer several die from it.”

MICHAEL WRIGHT

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