Class Action Against Algae

Aq 0202 15pg 0001 AQUA • FEBRUARY 2002 15 Noteworthy observations from the world of spas and pools.

T he health benefits to humans of swimming in a backyard pool are manifest and well documented. The benefits to our four-legged housemates, however, are less well known; but it turns out that paddling a few laps can have great practical benefits for dogs as well, according to Dr. Dwain Zagrocki, a veterinarian in Minneola, Fla.

"Dogs are no exception when it comes to taking advantage of swimming, which, for humans, is a great non-impact form of exercise," says Dr. Zagrocki. Just make sure you watch your pets as you would any two-legged family member or friend, he cautions, because exhaustion or injury could result in drowning.

Never let them swim alone.

Swimming benefits dogs, and indeed, most furry animals, because the chlorine in the water kills fleas in the their coats. Dogs that are water-oriented and love to swim find the mental relaxation and playtime a great stress reliever. In addition, dogs with hip or orthopedic problems can benefit from a water workout. A 15-minute water exercise plan, working the animal's cardiovascular system, is equivalent to a 45-minute walk, says Dr. Zagrocki.

There are a few problems that may result from canine swimming, however, and pet owners should be on the lookout for these. Ear infections, dry skin and coat, and an increase in fungus and bacteria in a dog's coat can occur.

The secret is to towel dry your pet as soon as it leaves the water and use a veterinarian's or swimmer's ear solution to help rid the dog's ear of water.

From a maintenance perspective, however, dogs emit a bather load of slightly different character than their owners, and this must be taken into account. "Mechanically, the biggest problem to your dog's laps and cannonballs is extra dog hair in the skimmer and pump strainer baskets," says Steve Bludsworth, owner of All-Pool Service and Supply in Orlando, Fla. He recommends nylon basket sock nets that fit over the baskets and trap much finer particles and hair. The cost for this item is less than $5, Bludsworth adds.

Even with the nylon net, it is a good idea to clean your pool's filter more often to prevent any restriction in the filtration system. One important rule is to make sure you don't allow your dog to get out of the pool and roll in the dirt, or anything else that dogs like to roll in, and then jump or dive back into the pool. The debris will create extra work for your filtration system and sanitizer.

The Benefits of Dog Paddlin' pool swimming improves canine mental health, itching Class Action Against Algae discovery of green gunk in recycled, untreated tub water

cled, untreated tub water prompts suit

prompts suit T he idea that water carrying bather wastes, allowed to sit without chemical treatment for long periods in a warm environment, will grow a variety of algae and bacteria will come as a surprise to no one in the spa and pool industry.

That is, however, the gist of a class action suit filed in Canton, Texas.

The plaintiffs in the case allege that Lasco Bathware, Lancaster, Texas, a subsidiary of Tomkins PLC, produces whirlpool bathtubs that retain dirty bath water in the whirlpool piping system between baths. This dirty bath water is alleged to contain unsanitary and unsafe levels of organic matter, body fluids and bacteria. The bath residue remains in the piping system and adheres to the pipe walls and other system components, growing a microbial forest of potentially harmful bacteria, according to the lawsuit. When subsequent bathers activate the whirlpool, the lawsuit alleges that this accumulated biofilm is injected into the bather's water and ejected from bursting bubbles into the air. Plaintiffs claim that the cleaning instructions provided for the tubs are ineffective to remove this accumulation of biofilm which results from the retention of dirty bath water.

Lasco has filed a notice of appeal.

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