Toxic cyanobacterial algae is popping up in ponds closer and closer to the SouthCoast. Here's what you need to know to keep your pets and yourself safe.

Both the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection and the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management have issued warnings about ponds near the SouthCoast containing toxic blooms of blue-green algae. As the heat and humidity continues to stick around, the chance of more of these toxic blooms grows.

The blue-green algae is full of cyanobacteria, tiny microorganisms that produce cyanotoxins. Once the algae bloom grows big enough, the entire body of water it is floating in can become toxic and extremely harmful to both people and animals.

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Now while most people wouldn't want to swim or drink water that is covered in a layer of blue-green goo, your pets may not be so picky. That is why most of the health advisories stress the need for pet owners to be extra vigilant with their dogs when out for walks around ponds with the cyanobacterial algae growing. Currently there are five ponds within a short drive of the SouthCoast where this algae is growing.

If you are planning any outdoor time towards the South Shore or Cape Cod with your four-legged friends this weekend, you may want to avoid Ashumet Pond in Mashpee/Falmouth, Great Herring Pond in Plymouth, Hoyt Pond (aka Orchard Pond) in Plymouth and Santuit Pond in Mashpee. If venturing into Rhode Island is usually your thing, both Upper and Lower Melville Ponds in Portsmouth are covering in blue-green algae, too.

This also means any fish from these ponds would be unsafe to eat and canoeing or kayaking on them could be hazardous to your health as well. All of these advisory will remain in effect until further notice.

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To prepare yourself for a potential incident, always keep your vet's phone number handy, along with an after-hours clinic you can call in an emergency. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center also has a hotline you can call at (888) 426-4435 for advice.

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