NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — The North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality is asking that hunters watch out for potentially toxic blue-green algae in wetlands and lakes while they’re out this fall.

According to a news release, blue-green algae can produce cyanotoxins which can cause severe health effects in dogs and humans if it’s ingested.

Common side effects for humans can include diarrhea and vomiting, numb lips, tingling fingers and toes, dizziness, rashes, hives, and skin blisters. For dogs, they can face death, seizures, vomiting, and skin irritation.

As of right now, there are no known antidotes for cyanotoxins.

NDDEQ has three things people can do if they encounter blue-green algae.

  1. Know it. It can take different forms, so people should be on the lookout for algae with the appearance of grass clipping floating in the water, clumps/puffballs, or green cottage cheese. It can also make the water look like spilled green paint or green pea soup. It’s typically bright green or turquoise colored.
  2. Avoid it. People need to respect the advisories and warnings the NDDEQ announces. All water advisories and warnings are posted here. People should not let pets swim or drink from those waters either. Bring fresh water with you for yourself and your hunting dog. If you or your dog accidentally swims in the water, you should rinse off immediately.
  3. Report it. People can report blooms at (701) 328-5210 or here. Since it can take some time to get the laboratory results, people should be cautious and avoid water that looks discolored, scummy, or has a foul odor.

Hunters should have a safe and successful hunt, and of course, when in doubt, stay out.