Bunbury veterinarian shares dangers of blowfish poisoning in dogs

Warning for dog owners: Animals who ingest blowfish, also known as puffer fish, vomiting, drooling, panting, and dullness. Photo: supplied.

Warning for dog owners: Animals who ingest blowfish, also known as puffer fish, vomiting, drooling, panting, and dullness. Photo: supplied.

As the weather warms up and more people enjoy both fishing and walking their dogs, Bunbury and Eaton Vet Clinic senior veterinarian Braden Collins is asking those who are fishing to correctly dispose of puffer or blowfish.

In the last week, the Eaton Vet Clinic has seen a number of dogs present with signs of blowfish poisoning, which according to Mr Collins include vomiting, drooling, panting and dullness.

"This is the time of year that we see a large number of dogs poisoned after eating blow fish which have been left on the shore by people fishing," Mr Collins said.

"It only takes seconds for a curious dog to eat one of these fish, so the chances of these discarded fish being eaten by a dog are quite high.

"If treated early, most dogs will make a full recovery, but more severe cases often need intravenous fluids and fat-soluble fluids to dilute the toxin, oxygen therapy, and ventilation when needed."

According to Mr Collins, blowfish contain a toxin called tetrodotoxin which is concentrated in their skin and internal organs.

He said one fish can contain enough toxin to kill several dogs.

"So a dog doesn't need to eat the fish to be affected - even licking a fish can cause clinical signs."

In addition to asking people to consider other animals when disposing of blowfish, Mr Collins also asked people fishing to be considerate of blowfish as they are "living animals".

"We all understand that blowfish are extremely annoying when fishing as they take baits, bite off hooks, and are inedible," he said.

"But all too often the fish are left on the beach to die, which is cruel for the fish, as they will suffer a slow death.

"We would urge anyone who catches a blowfish to either release it back into the water if it is viable, or humanely kill it and place it in a bin if it can't be released.

The community are reminded if they find a blowfish on the shore to safely pick it up and put it in the bin.

Pet owners are also encouraged to contact their vet immediately if they suspect their dog may have eaten a blowfish.