Heartbroken couple's warning after puppy dies following walk at Anton Lakes

Jordan Shearman and Hannah May Washington with Roo Credit: BPM Media

A dog-loving couple have warned people to keep their pets out of the water after their puppy died following a walk at a lake.

Owner Hannah May Washington and her boyfriend Jordan Shearman took their cocker spaniel Roo to Anton Lakes near Andover for his daily walk on April 30.

They said: "We have taken Roo to the lakes many times before, but not so much recently, and did notice that a lot of the areas he would usually swim, was incredibly dirty, much more so than normal, so we didn’t spend so much time swimming in those areas, however he did jump in briefly for a lot of them."

Towards the end of their walk they noticed Roo's eyes became a little droopy.

"We figured he had got too much water in his eyes so we decided to end the walk and return to the car."

Blue-green algae like this, pictured on a different lake, can be harmful to health Credit: PA Images

On the way home Roo was extremely agitated, and struggling to stand up so they rushed him to Strathmore Vetinary clinic.

"While in my arms Roo began to have fits, struggling to breath, foaming at the mouth, it was the worst experience of my life having to hold him, speaking to him, telling him mummy and daddy loved him."

In the 15 minute-journey to the vets, Roo became pale, and was not breathing on his own, and he died at around 7pm.

Hannah said: "Our worst nightmare had officially happened, our precious, young, baby Roo had lost his life, so suddenly.

Anton Lakes is a nature reserve popular with dog-walkers

"Me and my partner are only 23 and 24, and we have just celebrated a year in our first home together, and a year with what can only be described as our first child in Roo. He was everything in our lives, quite literally. Our lives, our habits, our plans, revolved around our lovely pup, and so I can’t even begin to describe the pain we are in."

The couple want to share their story as a warning to dog walkers that Anton Lakes is potentially dangerous and to avoid that location until further notice.

The council has also advised dog walkers to keep pets out of the water as they test it for blue-green algae.

In an official statement, leader of Test Valley Borough Council Phil North said: “As a fellow dog owner, I was extremely saddened to hear about Roo’s passing following a walk at Anton Lakes. Although no cause of death has been confirmed with the council, following feedback from the vet we are taking a precautionary approach and are working with the Environment Agency to test the water for blue-green algae.

“This algae occurs naturally in bodies of freshwater but can be potentially dangerous to people and their pets.

"We are hoping to receive the results of the tests by the end of next week, and while we await the outcome, we are recommending that people and pets stay out of the water.”

According to the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, blue-green algae naturally occurs in lakes, ponds, canals, rivers and reservoirs and is a type of bacteria which can produce toxic chemicals harmful to the health of people and animals.

It is particularly a health risk during warm summer months when their concentrations increase in the water to form blooms and scums on the surface. This can look like green or turquoise wispy paint, green scum or clumps of green particles.

According to the Kennel Club the effects of blue-green algae on dogs may vary but there are some recognised effects including dribbling, tiredness, vomiting and diarrhoea (both of which may be bloody), effects on the heart and blood pressure, convulsions, problems breathing and organ failure.

Signs often start within an hour, but may occur within a few minutes, or can sometimes be delayed by a few days. Many cases are life threatening and dogs can die very quickly.