Why the beach can be a dog killer

TOAD DANGER: Palmwoods vet Dr Marja Helme warns of the dangers of dogs eating toadfish.
TOAD DANGER: Palmwoods vet Dr Marja Helme warns of the dangers of dogs eating toadfish. John Mccutcheon

A PALMWOODS veterinarian has reminded dog owners how a day at the beach can turn deadly for dogs in a split second.

Inquisitive pups rustling through the dunes and sniffing along the sand can have a matter of minutes to live if they take a bite of a toadfish.

Palmwoods Veterinary Clinic's Dr Marja Helme said the fish, sometimes known as puffer fish, could be fatal if owners did not recognise the warning signs.

The reminder came after the vet treated a labrador on Monday for poisoning after the dog "mouthed" a toadfish at Maroochy River mouth.

The fish contain tetrodotoxin, which is fast acting when ingested and is debilitating.

It is 1200 more times poisonous than cyanide.

"The dog was brought in and it was quite unwell," Dr Helme said.

"It was looking sick with droopy eyes, salivating profusely and vomiting just before we saw her.

"Her owners did the right thing bringing her in for a physical examination, so we could put her straight on IV fluids to help flush the toxins from her system.

"Once the dog swallows the toxins, it takes only half an hour before we start to see the symptoms.

"It's best to get the dog in early."

She said the other dangers at the beach were snake bites.

"Also watch for dogs swallowing too much saltwater."

The signs

The symptoms of toadfish poisoning in dogs:

  •  Vomiting
  •  Excessive salivation, drooling
  •  Droopy eyes
  •  Lethargic and weak

Topics:  beach dogs pets vet

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