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Woman's close call with dangerous creature on Aussie beach: 'Will we be ok?'

The woman was walking along the popular dog beach when her pet grabbed the poisonous creature in his mouth.

A woman and her dog have had a close with one of the world's most poisonous fish species while at a popular Melbourne beach.

Walking along Altona Dog Beach on Thursday evening, alarm bells started ringing when the Melbourne woman noticed her furry friend, Buddy, picked up a spiky, dead fish in his mouth, later identified as a deadly pufferfish.

"My dog decided to try eat this," she said on Reddit, posting a photo of the creature. "He refused to drop it, so I had to remove it from his mouth, in the process I think I felt a tiny prick on my thumb. Will we be ok?"

 A photo (left) of a dead pufferfish on the back of a woman's flip-flops. Another photo (right) of the woman’s dog, Buddy.
A woman was walking along Altona Dog Beach in Melbourne, when her dog, Buddy, picked up a dead pufferfish in his mouth. Source: Reddit/Supplied

1200 times more poisonous than cyanide

With enough poison to kill 30 people, the pufferfish, dead or alive, can be fatal to both humans and dogs if eaten.

Ranked as one of the most poisonous species in the world, the creature contains a toxin called tetrodotoxin on its skin and in its internal organs, which is also found in blue-ringed octopus. It's about 1200 times more poisonous than cyanide, according to the Animal Emergency Service.

Dr Georgina Child, a neurology specialist at the Small Animal Specialist Hospital, warned Yahoo News Australia the toxin has been known to kill animals “within minutes”, meaning animals suffering symptoms should be rushed to the nearest vet immediately.

“They may often vomit and become weak very quickly, so have difficulty standing,” Dr Child said.

“It affects their ability to move and then, depending on the amount of toxin absorbed, it can rapidly progress to them being unable to breathe.”

Woman and dog 'feel fine'

The Melbourne local gave an update to Yahoo News Australia after chatting to an emergency vet.

"About an hour after it happened I gave my local emergency vet clinic a call and they said he would be fine," she said. "It’s only really toxic if the dog ingests the pufferfish — in this case the vet said a dog would develop symptoms within 30 mins after consumption.

"Thankfully my boy only held it in his mouth. Still a stressful experience though!"

She also said she felt "fine".

Dead pufferfish are known to wash up on beaches in the area, such as at Altona and Williamstown, according to the Hobson Bay Veterinary Clinic.

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