TERRITORIANS were warned yesterday about the threat of stingers after a pit bull dog was killed by a box jellyfish.
Dr Steven Skov of the Centre for Disease Control said the stinger season officially ended on Monday. But he said jellyfish didn't follow the calendar and warned people to be cautious. Dr Skov said the unseasonal hot, wet weather was enough temptation for deadly stingers to loiter in Top End water.
The pit bull died after being stung on the leg while playing in shallow water at a Darwin beach.
Parap Veterinary Clinic vet Bree Clisby told the Northern Territory News it was only the second dog to be killed in a stinger attack in the past 15 years.
"It is quite rare," she said.
"Usually the fur gives the animal quite a lot of protection.
"A dog has to be stung on an unprotected body part, like the mouth, or he must be really unlucky."
But the death of the 25kg dog showed the power of jellyfish.
"The owner brought the dog straight into the clinic, but he passed away within 30 minutes," the vet said.
"It shows that the risk is out there."
Dr Skov said Darwin beaches were still unsafe for swimming and people should not forget that box jellyfish injuries had been recorded in every month of the year.
"You can't say that going into the water will be safe after a certain date," he said.
"Little children are particularly at risk from jellyfish stings, so think very carefully about letting them enter the water and make sure they are well covered if they do."
Dr Skov said in the event of a person or a dog being stung, it was important to douse the affected area with vinegar immediately and to see a doctor.