DENVER (KDVR) – Like the rest of the country, Colorado finds itself smack dab in the middle of the hottest part of the year, and unfortunately for pets and their owners, the warm conditions created during the height of the summer season can lead to the growth of the toxic bloom known as blue-green algae.

On Friday afternoon, the Denver Animal Shelter said in a tweet that the harmful bloom had been detected in a lake that sits along the northern border of the Mar Lee neighborhood.

That lake, located at 3600 West Mississippi Ave., is Garfield Lake.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, blue-green algae are meek plant-like organisms that reside in water and are capable of producing toxins that can make both people and their pets very sick. Additionally, the presence of this algae impacts the environment negatively and is capable of occurring in salt, fresh or brackish water.

These conditions are worsened by elongated periods of warm and dry weather.

Now, those who frequent the area around Garfield Lake have been warned to avoid entering the water since coming in contact with the toxic bloom can lead to illness or worse.

Again, these blooms are extremely harmful to dogs, because after jumping in water, they typically lick their fur. If a dog does this after swimming in water riddled with the potentially deadly toxic bloom, then it can get seriously sick or die.

What to look for when inspecting water for blue-green algae:

  • The forming of scum on the surface
  • Foam has accrued on the surface
  • A mat-like appearance on the water’s surface
  • The water’s surface looks like it’s been painted
  • When present, it can make the water appear green, blue, red or brown

If you experience any of the following symptoms after being around water, you should consult the American Association of Poison Control Center and seek medical care:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Drowsiness
  • Skin, eye, throat or nose irritation
  • Muscle weakness
  • Dizziness

Know that it can only take a few minutes for an animal to become sick after being exposed to these toxic blooms, so seek veterinary care quickly if you feel an exposure has occurred.