Blue-Green Algae

We have received questions regarding cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) harmful algal blooms in private ponds. The information and resources below are provided to help Tennessee animal owners ensure that their animals remain healthy.

Our staff members at the Kord Animal Health Diagnostic Laboratory have not found any animal health cases consistent with blue-green algae toxicosis. Furthermore, our partners at the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation are not aware of any widespread issues regarding cyanotoxins in waters of the state. Several state and federal agencies have established an interagency workgroup to evaluate the presence of cyanotoxins and develop a unified response to algal blooms, should one be needed.

The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture (UTIA) has compiled helpful information about this topic that may answer many of your questions. The UTIA publication can be found here.  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also provides information about cyanobacterial harmful algal blooms and how to prevent, control, and treat them. Visit the EPA’s page by clicking here.

If you believe that your animals have been exposed to a water source containing cyanobacteria, you may submit water samples to a laboratory for testing. A list of laboratories that perform analysis of cyanotoxins can be found on the EPA’s website here.

Animal owners and producers concerned with the health of their animals should consult with their veterinarian. If post-mortem diagnostics need to be conducted on an animal that may have been exposed to cyanobacteria, the Kord Lab provides necropsy and biopsy diagnostic services for a wide range of animal diseases in many species of animals. For animal health concerns and questions, please contact the Kord Lab at 615-837-5125.