Dog owners have been warned to look out for blue, coin-sized creatures when walking their pets at the beach, following a spate of dogs falling ill after ingesting stingers.

Blue buttons, which are closely related to jellyfish, are found in warm waters and have been washing up on Queensland beaches, particularly after heavy winds and large tides.

Tess Nolan, a nurse at The Point Vet at Paradise Point, said pet owners should not walk their dogs on the beach if they saw blue buttons.

“We go through seasons when there are so many down on the beaches [and] we just try and make sure that people are avoiding them, because dogs are notorious for eating anything that they can find.”

Ms Nolan said lethargy and excessive drooling were signs a dog could be unwell from eating the blue creatures.

A blue button found at Palm Beach.(ABC Gold Coast: Tara Cassidy)

Penny forced to undergo surgery 

Elanora resident Wayne Matherson was walking his groodle Penny along Tallebudgera beach on the Gold Coast this week, when he noticed her eat something off the sand.

“I had a quick look and even at that point, I didn’t recognise it as a jellyfish; I thought it was a leaf or something,” he said.

Blue button jellyfish 2
Ms Matherson shows how small the buttons are, making them difficult to spot.(Supplied: Wayne Matherson)

Mr Matherson’s vet said Penny was one of several dogs they had seen that day due to ingesting blue buttons.

“So if you’re on the beach and your dog starts chewing on grass like a lawn mower or looking for things to eat and looks quite agitated, it’s mostly likely they’ve eaten one of these.

“You just need to get to a vet as soon as possible and they can help put it at ease and hopefully not get any secondary complications and have a belly full of rubbish.” 

The vet gave Penny a sedative to ease her pain and she had to undergo surgery to remove half a kilo of towel and grass.

Grass vet
Penny had more than 500 grams of grass and towel removed from her stomach.(Supplied: Wayne Matherson)

Anaphylactic reaction

Associate veterinarian Georgina Davis from Tugun Veterinarian Surgery said blue buttons could cause an anaphylactic reaction in animals that could cause swelling of the airways.

“Those blue strands cause local irritation as it moves down the oesophagus as it was swallowed,” Ms Davis said.

She said dogs could recover after eating the toxic sea creature with fluids, anti-nausea medication and medication to protect the stomach and oesophagus.


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