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Jellyfish

18 June 2017

A dog on a beach

 

As the holiday season will be starting soon, with more people taking to the seaside this year with their pets rather than travelling abroad, owners need to be aware of the potential risks of exposure to jellyfish, especially as the recent warm spell has resulted in an increase in jellyfish numbers, according to recent news reports.

Jellyfish hunt their prey by capturing and then paralysing them with venom. The venom is ‘fired’ on contact with the jellyfish’s tentacles from special cells called nematocysts. Although the fur on most dogs offers a layer of protection, they can be vulnerable to stings on lightly furred areas such as the face, feet, and abdomen. They are also at risk for stings inside their mouths if they attempt to pick up a jellyfish, especially as this stinging action can occur several weeks after the death of the jellyfish.

Whilst reports of jellyfish exposure resulting in serious problems are rare, dogs can develop ulceration to the mouth if they lick or eat the tentacles. Irritation to the gut can also occur, resulting in vomiting and diarrhoea.

 

Jellyfish

 

If your dog is stung by a jellyfish, the primary concern is to remove any stingers and stop the chemical reactions. Soaking the area in seawater will prevent the tentacles from releasing any more toxins. It is imperative to avoid using fresh water as fresh water can activate the cells rather than preventing them from being triggered.

We would recommend that you contact the nearest vet for advice as soon as possible.