Linlithgow Loch warning

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An urgent warning has been sent out by West Lothian Council with regard to the presence of blue green algae in Linlithgow Loch.

Council bosses have advised against entering the loch or touching any thick accumulations which might form on the shoreline.

The sunnier weather has prompted the increase of algae blooms which gather in still water like that in the loch.

A WLC council spokesman stressed: “Within these bodies of water there lies a very real health risk and it is advised that any contact with the water should be kept an absolute minimum and that hands should be washed after any contact.

“Dog owners should refrain from allowing their dogs to swim in bodies of water where the risk of blue-green algae is possible.

“Cyanobacteria - also known as blue-green algae- are microscopic bacteria found in freshwater lakes, streams, ponds and brackish water ecosystems.

“They can produce toxins such as microcystins and anatoxins that affect people, livestock and pets that swim in and drink from the algae-contaminated water.

“Dogs that enjoy swimming and playing in lakes and ponds may be exposed to blue-green algae.

“ Hunting dogs are especially predisposed due to increased exposure outdoors. Exposure may result in liver damage or failure in the most extreme cases.

“ Signs of liver injury include vomiting, diarrhoea, blood in stool or black, tarry stool, weakness, pale mucous membranes, jaundice, seizures, disorientation, coma, and shock.

“Death generally follows within days as a result of liver failure. Unfortunately, there is no antidote for the toxins produced by this algae.”

It has been stressed however that fishing can continue safely at the loch.