Officials in Utah have issued a public health warning for part of the Virgin River that runs through Zion National Park after a puppy died, following reported exposure to harmful algal blooms on July 4th. KUTV reports the dog had been playing in the water and was “snapping” at algae on the rocks. Before passing away, the poor animal could not walk and was having seizures – symptoms consistent with possible exposure to cyanobacteria toxins, scientists believe the pup died from contact with the aggressive algae.
The Virgin River has since tested positive for a toxin produced by cyanobacteria. The Southwest Utah Public Health Department has issued a warning for certain parts of the North Fork of the Virgin River. Warning signs will be posted to avoid swimming in or contact with the affected area of the river. Visitors are currently advised to not drink the water, keep pets out of the water, avoid areas with algae scum and to thoroughly clean fish if you plan to eat them. Please stay super alert if you gonna be in Zion with your pet.