LCRA 'strongly urges' owners not let dogs touch algae in Highland Lakes

The Lower Colorado River Authority says blue-green algae samples from 10 spots on Lake Travis have tested positive for cyanotoxins.

These same toxins were found in small amounts in water samples taken from three sites. Cyanotoxins can be harmful to dogs and other animals when ingested, so LCRA is urging pet owners to not let their dogs play in or eat algae in any of the Highland Lakes.


LCRA says test results showed the presence of dihydroanatoxin-a, a type of cyanotoxin, at these 10 areas:

  • Arkansas Bend Park
  • Bob Wentz Park
  • Comanche Point
  • Cypress Creek Park
  • Lakeway City Park
  • Mansfield Dam Park
  • Pace Bend Park
  • Sandy Creek Park
  • Tom Hughes Park
  • Travis Landing

The results showed small amounts of the same cyanotoxin in lake water near Bob Wentz, Sandy Creek, and Arkansas Bend parks, says LCRA.

The algae samples, which were collected on March 3, ranged from the size of a pea to the size of a dinner plate. Samples collected from Lake Travis included floating algae in cove areas, algae on the bottom of the lake in shallow areas, and decaying algae from solid material along the shoreline, according to LCRA. The algae were typically brown or dark green.

"We can’t stress this enough – out of an abundance of caution, do not let your dogs touch or ingest algae from the lakes," said John Hofmann, LCRA executive vice president of Water. "We know even a little toxicity from blue-green algae can be harmful or even fatal to dogs."


LCRA says it has not received any additional reports of dogs becoming ill after swimming in Lake Travis in the last two weeks. There were earlier reports of two dogs dying and five others becoming ill after swimming in the Travis Landing neighborhood near Hudson Bend or the Comanche Point area on the other side of the lake.

LCRA says it will take additional water and algae samples from other parts of Lake Travis and other Highland Lakes next week and share the results.

At least five dogs died after swimming in Lady Bird Lake during the summer of 2019. Dog owners should take their pets to a veterinarian immediately if their dogs become sick after swimming. Dog owners are also asked to report the illness to 3-1-1.

Symptoms of exposure may include: 

  • Excessive drooling, vomiting, and diarrhea 
  • Foaming at the mouth 
  • Jaundice and hepatomegaly 
  • Blood in urine or dark urine 
  • Stumbling 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Photosensitization in recovering animals 
  •  Abdominal tenderness 
  • Progression of muscle twitches 
  • Respiratory paralysis