Dog dies after swimming in Lake Mendota

Dog was euthanized after becoming ill

MADISON, Wis. - Several hours after swimming in Lake Mendota a 3-year-old dog became very sick and was euthanized.

“I decided to take her to go swimming and we had one of her favorite balls that float. So, I usually just toss it in the water and she goes and returns it,” said Lindsey Holmes, owner of Lucy.

Holmes and Lucy were playing near the Memorial Union Terrace.

After about an hour, they went home and Lucy started to vomit. Holmes took Lucy to the clinic at the UW School of Veterinary Medicine. When Lucy became so ill that a ventilator was needed, the decision was made to put her to sleep.

“It was just so weird how quickly her health just went spiraling downhill within an hour of swimming,” Holmes said.

While a cause for Lucy’s illness has not been determined, the family fears the dog may have ingested blue-green algae.

“Blue-green algae can affect them neurologically and it can also affect their liver. Neurological effects can manifest as tremors or seizures. Liver effects can manifest as acute liver failure and can be pretty difficult to reverse,” said Tristan Daugherty-Leiter, a veterinarian at Veterinary Specialty Emergency Service.

Holmes said while Lucy was being treated at the veterinary clinic another dog was brought in.

“We heard there was another incident of another dog coming in after swimming at Marshall Park,” Holmes said.

A check of conditions of Madison beaches shows no reported signs of blue-green algae.

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