AUSTIN, Texas - A Central Texas family is grieving the loss of their beloved pet who died after a swim in water containing toxic algae.
“She was legitimately a part of our family,” Tamra Massey said. “It's been hard it's been really really hard and I blame myself and I've been told not to but I just want people to not go through this.”
Massey says on July 31, she took her dog Fina to the Guadalupe River feet away from her back door.
“She loved the water,” she said.
Just north of Boerne, Massey says her 3-year-old toy Australian Shepherd started experiencing unusual symptoms almost immediately after getting out of the water.
“Squinty eyes, she threw up a little bit and she started to get off balance and got a little stiff legged. She had two seizures in less than 5 minutes,” Massey said. “Rushed her to the vet - that took about 15 minutes. Five minutes after that there was nothing they could do for her. Her diaphragm had seized up he said that was one of the symptoms muscle paralysis.”
Fina passed away in less than an hour. Massey says the water Fina swam in wasn't covered in algae and it didn't look stagnant or dirty.
“It was clear we could see straight through it to the bottom,” Massey said.
The Texas Commission of Environmental Quality confirmed with Massey that was in fact blue green algae present in her backyard river.
“Since it is private it's not monitored by the state,” Massey said. “That's something to get out to people that live on a private part of a river.”
Fina isn't the only dog that has died after swimming in a body of water recently in Central Texas. Three dogs in Austin died a few weeks ago after swimming at Red Bud Isle and in Lady Bird Lake, which was confirmed by the city of Austin to contain toxic blue-green algae.
The Watershed Department with the city of Austin says the Guadalupe River is a completely different separate system from our lakes in Austin, but it doesn't negate the fact that the algae is lurking in bodies of water nationwide.
This issue has even spread in other parts of the US.
"We just brought our dogs here to have a good time,” North Carolina woman Melissa Martin said.
Martin says her three dogs suddenly died at the same time after dipping in a local pond In Wilmington, N.C. Toxic algae was in the water and Martin says she had no idea.
"We'd never put them in a situation like this,” Martin said. “They were everything."