MSPCA warns pet owners of harmful blue-green algae in Massachusetts

BOSTON — Pets, especially dogs, love jumping into the closest body of water, but pet owners are being urged to watch out for a silent threat.

It can be tempting to let your dog in the water at the nearest lake, but public health officials are warning Mass. residents to be wary of a blue-green algae called cyanobacteria.

Blue-green algae can form harmful blooms in lakes, ponds and rivers that make the water look murky, sometimes making the water look like pea soup or paint.

The blooms can produce toxins that can make both pets and people very sick.

Scientists say that cyanobacteria toxins, when pets drink or eat them, have been linked to neurological disorders, liver failure and ALS. Because cyanobacteria can also affect humans, it's important to not only wash off your pets if they get it on them, but to use gloves while doing so.

Crystal Lake in Newton is just one of five spots for which the Mass. Department of Health issued a warning.

Other bodies of water affected are in Plymouth, Westport and two spots in Barnstable.

Spots to watch out for cyanobacteria:

•    Billington Sea — Plymouth
•    Crystal Lake — Newton
•    Devol Pond — Westport
•    Long Pond Marstons Mills — Barnstable
•    Shubael Pond — Barnstable

Last month, Boston 25 News reported on a blue-green algae outbreak in parts of the Charles River, also warning pet owners to be careful when taking walks along the water.

>> RELATED: Caution advised for water activities after Charles River algae bloom