A woman has issued an urgent warning over ‘killer jellyfish’, which are being blamed for a spate of dog deaths.
“Heartbroken” Brenda Overton urged walkers to stop their pooches from paddling in the sea after her beloved pet died.
Brenda claims her Labrador-cross Buster’s health went into decline after he raced into the sea on Jaywick Beach in Jaywick, Essex, earlier this month.
While Brenda didn’t see a jellyfish on the day she walked Buster, a fellow walker later claimed they spotted a Portuguese man o’war in the same waters.
Brenda claims a fellow dog walker told her their pet spaniel passed away after going in the sea during the same period.
The ordeal began on Sunday 5th July when rescue dog Buster splashed about in the water during his walk. Once home, he seemed more lethargic than usual.
Three days later Brenda became concerned when huge chunks of poor Buster’s fur and skin began to flake off, leaving a sore the size of a dinner plate behind.
Baffled vets cleaned the wound and prescribed medication for Buster to take, fearing he may have cancer, and sent him home.
Carer Brenda, watched on helplessly as Buster’s health deteriorated rapidly over the next few days and he struggled to walk on his fluid-filled legs.
When Brenda returned to the surgery on 13th July, vets urged her to give Buster ‘the best week of his life’ but seeing how poorly he was they made the difficult decision to put him to sleep the next day.
Brenda is now urging dog walkers to be cautious and if possible keep dogs from going into the sea.
Brenda said: “It’s been awful, I’m so frightened for my other two dogs Jess and Buddy now and I won’t let them near the sea.
“Jaywick Beach is a regular place I take the dogs, Buster loved going on the beach and going into the sea after his ball.
“I said all along it was a jellyfish – it was something in the sea that had caused it.”
“He was very poorly over the weekend despite all the pills the vets had given me. His legs became swollen and full of fluid, he was really in a state.
“I phoned the vet and asked if they could have a last look at him to see if they could save him but they couldn’t.”
The biopsy result suggested it was some kind of poison that killed Buster, typically caused by an adder or a jellyfish.
Talking about the impact of jelly fish stings on dogs, vet Fiona Campbell of Dunedin Veterinary Centre advises: “Jellyfish stings can potentially be serious if dogs suffer an anaphylactic reaction, and the worst case scenario can be fatal.
“Most cases we see aren’t as severe as this, but they are still unpleasant for the dog.”
She continues: “Washing dogs in salt water or mild vinegar solution helps to deactivate the sting, but you should take your pet to the vet as soon as possible if they show a reaction.”
Brenda is convinced that a lethal jellyfish sting is the cause of Buster’s tragic death.
She said: “We hadn’t seen any jellyfish that day but I reckon it was a jellyfish that had him.
“After it happened we saw jellyfish on the beach, big clear things, someone else said they’d seen a Portuguese man o’war but I can’t be certain.
“I spoke to another dog walker on the beach who said his spaniel passed away the day before after going into the sea too.”
Brenda is now speaking out her ordeal in a bid to ensure no other dogs suffer the same fate as Buster.
Brenda said: “I would urge other dog owners to be aware of their surroundings and make sure there’s nothing on the beach like jellyfish.
“Dogs love going in the sea, but mine aren’t going in the sea after what happened to Buster.”