A (Half) Ironman vet talks about triathlons, jellyfish, micropigs and answers listeners’ queries

Ironman racing

I completed Ironman 70.3 Dublin at the weekend – you can read my race report here – and Pat Kenny asked me about my experience on his show this week.

Lions Mane Jellyfish

One topical issue was the Lions Mane Jellyfish which had been seen in the waters of Scotsman’s Bay, where the race was happening. Many people were worried about these, and I have been asked about the risk to pets. There is plenty of information online about them, but my view is that in general, their sting is similar to that of a wasp – it is alkali, which is why vinegar can help to soothe it
(Vinegar on Wasp stings, Bicarbonate of soda on Bee stings is what I always remember as a way of soothing the sting)

Dogs are not smart or experienced enough to know that they are dangerous so if they try to chew them, it’s the equivalent of swallowing wasps which clearly is potentially dangerous.

I had personal experience of jelly fish while training for the Ironman when we were swimming at Forty Foot on Friday. One of our group was stung on her hand. It was just itchy, and not very serious. If she had tried to swallow the jelly fish (like the dog) then she too would have needed an overnight hospital stay!

micropigs as pets

Especially following the Vodafone ads featuring Peggy, pet pigs are becoming more popular. However a pig is not generally suitable as a pet, despite their appeal.  They must be provided with space, a shelter and proper care – they should not be kept in the home.
The idea of a “pig in a teacup” is nonsensical. On average, “miniature breeds” such as the Vietnamese Pot-Bellied, weigh as much as a big dog, from 35kg to 70kg.
Anyone who has a pig has to register with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.  There are strict regulations on how the pig will be housed, fed, cared for, transported, etc.  Only people registered with the Department and issued with pig herd numbers are allowed to own  pigs.
Under the Animal Welfare Act anyone who is responsible for a pet has a legal responsibility to meet the welfare needs of pets, including a proper diet (including fresh water), somewhere suitable to live, allowing them to express normal behaviour including a social life, and protecting them from illness and injury.

After all this, if anyone is seriously interested in keeping pigs, they should contact the Irish Pig Society, whose members are enthusiasts who love to share their passion for pigs.

Questions from listeners

How can you stop an older kitten from biting and scratching?

What can you do with a Cocker Spaniel with a terrible temper?

Why might a Bichon Frise have brown stains on her mouth and feet?

Listen to the podcast to hear more on these discussions.

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