(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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

School demolition brings up memories

Darlene ‘Dar’ Hastings couldn’t wait to attend the new 100 Mile High when it opened in 1960.

Volunteering ‘best way to expand your bubble’

Val Severin serves the community as a way to give back

Old Timers Hockey league seeks players

The Old Timers Hockey Association is looking for players and increased community… Continue reading

Work begins on Clinton seniors’ living facility

Work has recently begun on a 20-bed seniors’ living facility in Clinton.

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

QUIZ: Do you know what’s on TV?

Fall is normally the time when new television shows are released

Canadian ski resorts wrestle with pandemic-vs.-profit dilemma as COVID-19 persists

Few are actually restricting the total number of skiers they allow on the hill

Victoria-area RCMP locate high-risk sex offender thanks to help of taxi cab driver

Scott Jones wanted on a Canada-wide warrant, ‘a risk to women and girls,’ police say

A (virtual) walk around the world by 88-year-old B.C. man

George Doi says it’s simple: ‘I like walking’

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

End of CERB means uncertainty for some, new system for others

As of a week ago, the CERB had paid out $79.3 billion to 8.8 million people

Horgan, Wilkinson trade barbs over MSP premiums, health care at campaign stops

Horgan called a snap election for Oct. 24 earlier this week

Most Read