Debromoaplysiatoxin as the causative agent of dermatitis in a dog after exposure to freshwater in California

Birgit Puschner, Adrienne C. Bautista, Chris Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Contamination of recreational waters with cyanobacterial toxins continues to increase and presents a risk to animals and humans. Although cases of acute hepato- and neurotoxicoses in dogs following cyanotoxin exposure exist, no reports of skin-related reactions in dogs exist. A 5-year-old female spayed 34 kg Bracco Italiano was initially presented for rapid onset of severe pruritus and urticaria. Marked excoriation and erythema were noted over the chest and neck, while urticaria was noted in the inguinal regions and ventral abdomen. Initial basic dermatology work-up excluded parasitic, fungal, and bacterial organisms. Due to the severity and progression of urticaria, the dog received IV dexamethasone and IM diphenhydramine. Improvement of the urticaria and the dog's clinical status was noted over the next 45 min. Assessment of the dog's environment revealed access to a lake on the property with visible algal bloom. Water from the lake was submitted for toxicology testing and revealed the presence of debromoaplysiatoxin. Access to the lake was discontinued and follow-up evaluation over the next few weeks revealed a complete resolution of the skin irritation. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first case report of debromoaplysiatoxin exposure in a dog after swimming in cyanobacteria-contaminated water. Veterinarians should recognize the potential harm that contaminated waters may cause in terms of dermal, hepatic, and neurological conditions. In addition, more prudent oversight of contaminated recreational waters is recommended for animals and humans to prevent adverse events and intoxications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number50
JournalFrontiers in Veterinary Science
Issue numberAPR
StatePublished - Apr 6 2017


  • Cyanobacteria
  • Cyanotoxins
  • Debromoaplysiatoxin
  • Dog
  • Lyngbya sp.
  • Skin irritation
  • Toxicosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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