Summer Hazards Bluebottles

Summer Hazards Bluebottles

The Animal Poisons Helpline has recently received several calls regarding dogs ingesting beached bluebottles. Otherwise known as man-of-war or blue bottle jellyfish, Physalia physalis is not actually a jellyfish but is a colony of many smaller living organisms (known as zooids) which hang from a gas filled float.

Bluebottles are commonly found in Australian and New Zealand waters and are often washed onto the beach after strong winds. In some instances, certain shorelines will be covered with hundreds of bluebottles which can retain the ability to sting after washing ashore.

Dogs that ingest bluebottles may be stung in the mouth and throat. These stings are immediately painful and affected dogs may drool or vomit. Stings may result in local swelling in the mouth and throat and rarely this may lead to breathing difficulties. Allergic reactions including anaphylaxis are possible.

Please be cautious whilst on the beach with your dog this summer. Spend a few minutes inspecting the shoreline before removing your dog’s leash, particularly in the days following strong onshore winds. If there are washed up bluebottles, keeping your dog leashed is a good idea and this can also be a useful strategy to prevent your dog eating beached pufferfish and other jellyfish.

☎ If you are concerned your pet has ingested something they should not have, please phone the Animal Poisons Helpline on 1300 869 738 (AU)
or 0800 869 738 (NZ) for advice.

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This post has been gratefully sponsored by a grant from Animal Welfare Victoria.