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Algae tests negative for toxins

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The owner of a dog that fell ill and died after a visit to Balmy Beach has been told the animal died of a brain aneurysm.

Lois Webster, whose grandson's dog Koda was the pet that died, said Thursday the family had been contacted by the University of Guelph where a necropsy was performed following the dog's death on May 16.

"They say that Koda died of a brain aneurysm, so it was just a horrible coincidence that he came up to the bay and got sick," Webster said.

The family was concerned that a stinky, slimy sludge along the shore near the home was connected to the animal's death. It had been in the water on May 15.

But Andrew Barton, public health manager with the Grey Bruce Health Unit, confirmed on Thursday that tests by the Ministry of Environment of the surface water and algae came back negative for toxins.

"They were looking particularly for the blue-green algae and the toxins that can be produced by those," said Barton.

Tests of the sludge showed there were five different species of algae in the water but "It was sort of the typical stuff you would expect to find, basically," Barton said.

Barton said the sludge was a suspected algae buildup in the small area along Balmy Beach that had started to decompose, causing some nasty odours.

Webster said it smelled like a combination of manure and sour garbage, though the odour went away a few days after it was first noticed, which was around the time the dog died.

"I still have the butterscotch pudding down there," Webster said Thursday. "The water isn't high enough. I don't know if I will ever get the water up to wash it away."

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