GREENVILLE, NC (WITN) Blue-green algae blooms have popped up in ponds and rivers across eastern Carolina and have been the reason some pets have died.
The algae in the water may or may not be totally visible, and dogs who swim in it can get sick or die, like a case in Wilmington where three dogs were killed in a matter of hours after playing in a pond Thursday night.
Officials says the blooms produce a harmful toxin that can stop a dog's liver from functioning properly.
UNC Marine and Environmental Sciences professor Hans Paerl says it's best to be careful."If there's perceptible discoloration of the water, even without a surface scum, I think one should practice caution," he said. He also says there can be varying toxins in algae blooms but they ultimately have similar effects.
Dog owners in Greenville are taking precautions.
Jordan Flora says, "My mom told me about it yesterday when she was up here we were driving around and she was like make sure you don't let your dog get in that water, there's algae."
Cody Hardin says, "Maybe don't let them in places with what is it, green algae or blue algae, whatever it is, just don't let them into it."
Most blooms have appeared in the northeast in the Chowan and Pasquotank rivers, but others have appeared in Wilmington, Wake and Edgecombe counties.