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Swimmers Urged To Avoid Russian River After Dog Dies From Toxic Algae

SONOMA COUNTY (CBS SF) -- Sonoma County public health officials are asking people to stay out of the Russian River this Labor Day weekend after a dog death was tied to a toxic blue-green algae bloom in the area.

According to Press Democrat, the 3-year-old golden retriever died within minutes after swimming in the water last Saturday. Preliminary test results revealed the dog was infected with a toxin produced by the algae, coinciding with symptoms that included seizures and foaming at the mouth.

Officials say they're unsure about which part of the river the dog came in contact with the algae. It occurred at some point on a floating trip north of Wohler Bridge -- one area that wasn't tested after the Sonoma County Division of Public Health detected small amounts of blue-green algae and toxins in the river several weeks ago.

The county issued a public warning Aug. 21 urging the public to avoid the algae and wash after exposure to river water.

A different toxin was found at time and differs from the one found in the dog's tissue sample. Officials are now rushing to test additional water samples but the results may not come back until after the holiday weekend.

In the meantime, officials avoid people from entering the water altogether.

Nicole Jones is a digital producer for CBS San Francisco. Follow her musings @nicjonestweets


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