Tel.+49 30 838 62450 Fax.+49 30 838 62522
In May 2017, at least 12 dogs showed signs of acute neurotoxicosis after swimming in or drinking from Lake Tegel, a mesotrophic lake in Berlin, Germany, and several of the affected dogs died shortly afterwards despite intensive veterinary treatment. Cyanobacterial blooms were not visible at the water surface or the shorelines. However, detached and floating water moss (Fontinalis antipyretica) with high amounts of Tychonema sp., a potential anatoxin-a (ATX) producing cyanobacterium, was found near the beaches where the dogs had been swimming and playing. Necropsies of two of the dogs revealed no specific lesions beside the anamnestic neurotoxicosis. ATX was detected in concentrations up to 8700 µg L-1 in the stomach contents, while other (neuro)toxic substances were not found. In the aqueous fraction of Fontinalis/Tychonema clumps sampled after the casualties, ATX was found in concentrations up to 1870 µg L-1. This is the first report of a dense population of Tychonema sp. in stands of Fontinalis resulting in high ATX contents. This case emphasizes the need for further investigation of potentially toxic, non-bloom forming cyanobacteria in less eutrophic water bodies and underlines the novel challenge of developing appropriate surveillance schemes for respective bathing sites.