A DEVASTATED couple have warned about the dangers after their pet dog started foaming at the mouth and died after swimming in a lake.
James Brady and Patricia Gora told of the “horrendous” moment they found one of their two dogs “convulsing” and “foaming at the mouth” minutes after swallowing water from a lake on an early-morning walk.
Army chef Patricia described her horror as they “watched the life go” from the eyes of their two-year-old Jack Russell Miniature, Maple.
Maple died just half an hour after frolicking in the water at Anton Lakes in Andover, Hampshire, where another puppy was taken ill and died in April.
Miss Gora, 29, and Mr Brady, 34, rushed outdoors loving Maple to the nearest vet, who was unable to save her.
The couple, who are expecting their first child later this year, added the vet told them Maple had likely ingested a “toxin” from the lake.
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The heartbroken owners, from Tidworth, Wiltshire, said they were oblivious to an investigation by Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC) into “blue-green algae” in the lake following the previous dog death this year.
They are now demanding the council put up signage warning dog walkers of the potential dangers.
Mr Brady explained he and his partner had decided to walk their dogs Maple and Misty, an eight-month-old Bichon Frise, at the idyllic-looking lakes on Saturday morning, before temperatures rose in the afternoon.
Before leaving, Maple happily pranced over to collect her ball which had rolled into the lake.
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Mr Brady, who works for a stairlift company Stannah, explained: "She must have ingested something.
"At first she was fine, then as we continued the walk I was ahead with Misty and I heard Patricia shouting that something was wrong with Maple."
Miss Gora described her dog's horrific “convulsions”, saying: "She looked at me and her eyes were rolling and her whole body started shaking.
"She was trying to find her balance but she couldn’t. I thought maybe it was the cold from the water so I tried to massage her."
Mr Brady added: "She was getting worse and worse. Her mouth was foaming and her heartbeat was getting so faint.
"We weren’t prepared but, at that stage, it wouldn’t have mattered anyway… It was so fast.
'IT WAS HORRENDOUS'
"I could almost see the life go from her eyes. It was horrendous. Watching it all happen before our eyes was just a nightmare.
"It took 28 minutes from her going into the water to dying."
The couple attempted to revive Maple before driving to the instore vets at their nearest Pets At Home.
Despite giving the dog adrenaline and trying to assist her breathing, the vet was unable to save Maple and said she had likely died due to a toxin in the water.
The death comes just months after accountant Jordan Shearman, 24, and nursery worker Hannah Washington, 23, lost their one year old Cocker Spaniel puppy, Roo, in shockingly similar circumstances.
'WORST EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE'
The couple said their "precious" puppy suffered fits similar to Maple in what Mr Shearman described as the "worst experience of my life".
Roo's death prompted an investigation into the presence of a blue-green algae at the beauty spot, with the couple saying they didn't want a similar tragedy to happen again.
Tests took place which showed the water was below the level of potential risk, but Mr Brady said he and his partner were completely unaware of the investigation and had not seen a sign which had been put up at a different entrance.
"There was no way to know, we never saw a sign," Mr Brady said.
"I went back two or three hours later, and I saw one sign at one entrance. It was literally a 50/50 chance and we made the wrong choice.
"If we’d gone the other way, we would have seen the warning sign. There should be signs around the entire lake.
"It happens once, you learn from it. It happens a second time and it’s negligence at that point.
"There is obviously something going on with the lake. They might think everyone knows, but that doesn’t account for people like us, travelling into Andover.
"It’s a beautiful lake and a lovely place, but you currently don’t know the risks until it’s too late. Maybe this time, they will take it seriously.
"We just want to warn as many people as we can – mainly those with little dogs like Maple."
TVBC has since taken more water samples from the lake, but warned there was always a risk of natural bodies of water in the UK containing the algae.
A spokesperson for the council said: "We have installed temporary notices [since the weekend] advising people not to swim in the lake or allow their dogs to drink or play in the water on a precautionary basis.
"We understand people will be concerned as another dog passed away several months ago after a visit to the lakes.
"Blue-green algae occurs naturally and there are commonly low levels present in ponds, streams, lakes and estuaries throughout the UK.
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"It therefore remains important to note that there will always be some level of risk with any pet or person swimming in a natural body of water, particularly in hot and sunny weather.
"The loss of any pet is devastating and our thoughts are with Maple’s owners."
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