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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Dog Veterinarian
Category: Dog
Satisfied Customers: 10147
Experience:  I have owned, bred and shown dogs for over 40 years.
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I just sent a message about my lab eating a jelly fish and

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I just sent a message about my lab eating a jelly fish and seem to have lost the message. Do you have it or should I retype?
JA: I'll do all I can to help. What is wrong with the dog?
Customer: My 10 year old lab ingested a Chesapeake Bay jellyfish. He threw up his stomach contents (dog food) and is down to just some white foam. He is eating straw, cedar chips and grass. My husband has forced some water down him. He seems to be doing a little better now. Is there anything I can do to make him less uncomfortable?
JA: The Veterinarian will know if the dog will be able to digest that. What is the dog's name?
Customer: Powhatan
JA: Is there anything else important you think the Veterinarian should know about Powhatan?
Customer: He's a field trial trained sweet heart!

Hello, I'm Dr. Deb and will do my best to help with this concern about Powhatan.

I don't see any previous message about his jelly fish ingestion so perhaps it has been lost in the ethernet:( In any event, please give me a few minutes to type back a reply for you. Deb

Fortunately, the jellyfishes found in North America rarely cause systemic toxicity; ingestion of them will often cause the patient to vomit...such as in this case with Powhatan...but usually not much more than this. A few dogs might have develop inflamed mucous membranes which may require veterinary attention but most dogs will just vomit.

I would expect his nausea to be fairly self-limiting but otc Pepcid AC (Famotidine) may be of benefit. The dose would be 1/4th mg per pound of body weight and can be given twice a day, if necessary.

I'd also withhold food for several hours until everything has settled down.

I hope this helps, Deb

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
While waiting for you, I found that meat tenderizer, baking soda and/or vinegar are recommended for a jelly fish sting. Are any of them safe to give him?

Vinegar can be applied to his skin if he was stung but I wouldn't advise that you make him swallow any. As I understand it, jelly fish sting where there are hair follicles....obviously not present in the mouth or stomach so he wouldn't be "stung" if he ate one, only if his skin can in contact with it.


Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Jellyfish have special cells along their tentacles called cnidocytes. Within these cells are harpoon-like structures full of venom, called nematocysts. The nematocysts shoot out when triggered by touch and can penetrate human skin in less time than it takes you to blink. I think they can sting any surface that they touch. Is it safe to feed him some meat tenderizer or baking soda to neutralize the sting in his mouth, throat, and stomach?
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
My experience is that hair actually protects you somewhat from the sting. The tenacles can't reach the bare skin quite as well.

I'm not an expert on jellyfish by any means but my research indicates that it's hair follicles which trigger this response. I suppose I could be wrong about that.

But, in any event, I see no harm in giving him a small amount of meat tenderizer or baking soda but I honestly don't think it's necessary...not at this point anyway unless the tissue in his mouth or tongue look inflamed.

It's primarily the nausea which would need to be addressed. Deb

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Great and thanks!

You're more than welcome.

Best of luck with keeping him from eating any in the future:) Deb

Dr. Deb and 3 other Dog Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
We live on salt water and, if we could, we would have kept him from gobbling up this one from the knee high water. He's quick, but he's also smart and hopefully won't repeat his error.

Let's hope he learns from this experience...which he should if he's bright....although having said that, dogs who have encounters with porcupines don't seem to learn to avoid them (at least not in my neck of the woods!!!). Deb