Tests have come back negative for toxic algae in Cumberland.
The water is seen at Twin Brook Recreational Facility in Cumberland. Credit: CBS 13

Tests have failed to show any signs of toxic blue-green algae at a Cumberland recreation area where two dogs are suspected of becoming fatally sick.

Samples were taken from eight locations at Twin Brook and Knight’s Pond Preserve this week, and none showed any signs of microcystins, nodularins and anatoxin, which are common to blue-green algae, according to the Portland Press Herald.

The samples weren’t tested for other common waterborne pathogens, such as salmonella, E.coli and giardia, the Press Herald reported.

What sickened Elayna Girardin’s dogs Stella and Luna, as well as a third dog that later recovered, remains a mystery for now. A necropsy of Luna, a Chihuahua mix, may shed light on what sickened her and boxer-pit bull mix Stella, according to the Portland newspaper.

Girardin told CBS affiliate WGME that she took her two dogs to Twin Brook last week, where they swam in the water. Once they came home, they began to show signs of sickness.

“She [Luna] was walking kind of stiff. My other dog Stella tried to jump on the bed and yelped in pain,” Girardin told the TV station. “They became almost walking zombies, they just weren’t with it.”

Stella and Luna were taken to the vet, and Giradin ultimately had them put down as their conditions worsened.

In response to those reports, the town of Cumberland put up signs warning about potential blue-green algae formation.

She told the Press Herald she believes recent heavy rains may have diluted or washed away the toxic substance that sickened her dogs.

Blue-green algae is a type of photosynthesizing bacteria called cyanobacteria. It exists in all Maine lakes but is harmless in low concentrations.

When the population of this bacteria explodes during an algal bloom it can sometimes produce toxins that, when ingested, can kill dogs in a matter of minutes. It can also poison humans, causing illness and, in rare cases, death.