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Bufo (Cane) Toad Poisoning In Dogs

toad poisoning in dogs

Toad poisoning in dogs is a common occurrence in South Florida – especially in the summer, when humidity levels are highest. This happens when dogs are exposed to the toxic secretions in certain toad species, usually by eating, hunting, biting, or playing with them. These toads, called bufo toads, tend to come out of hiding after it rains, early in the morning, and during twilight hours of evening. They are, unfortunately, dangerous and even deadly for our beloved pets. The milky white substance in bufotoxin has a high mortality rate when the exposure goes untreated.

Fortunately, an emergency vet clinic can save your dog from these toxins if you get them to us as soon as possible. Read on to learn more about bufotoxins, and how to prevent your dog from being exposed.

Causes Of Toad Toxicity

Bufo toads release their toxins whenever they feel threatened. Even a dog who is only curious rather than predatory, and just wants to give the toad a sniff, can be perceived as a threat. A toad that feels threatened will release a toxic substance on its back, which your dog can accidentally sniff or ingest. If that happens, the substance gets absorbed into the eyes, mouth, and into the gastrointestinal tract. The toxin then targets vital organs once it enters into your dog’s bloodstream.

Common Signs Of Toad Exposure

When your dog returns from being outside, be on the lookout for telltale signs such as increased saliva, pawing at their mouths, increased whining, and red mucous membranes on your dog’s body. You may also notice some stumbling or disorientation, even seizures. Other dogs may experience rapid breathing, diarrhea, irregular heartbeat, and vomiting. These symptoms can surface within just a few minutes of contact with toad toxins. If your dog exhibits one or more of these symptoms, get them to an emergency vet clinic right away. Toad poisoning is treatable, but it can also be fatal.

How Toad Toxicity Is Diagnosed

Your vet will perform a physical exam on your pet to look for signs of exposure to toad venom. Currently, there are no tests to diagnose it, but blood work and x-rays can detect symptoms. If your dog has been exposed, then you will be told about appropriate therapies and treatments.

How Emergency Vet Clinics Treat Toad Toxicity

One of the first things your vet may do to get rid of toad toxins is flush your dog’s mouth with water. If you suspect your dog has been exposed to toad poisoning, it’s important that you do this immediately before seeking medical care. Make sure you angle your dog’s head downward, so they don’t swallow any of the water. You should flush your dog’s mouth even if they are having seizures, but make sure you flush water away from the throat to avoid drowning. The faster you act, the better your pet’s chances of survival.

Once you get your dog to the vet, we will administer treatment based on the symptoms; there is no “one size fits all” treatment method since dogs will respond differently depending on the type of toad exposure. We will be sure to monitor your dog’s heart rate, blood pressure, blood glucose levels, temperature, and hydration level, and treat them accordingly.

Emergency Vet Clinics In South Florida

At All Aboard Animal Hospital, we care about your animal friends as much as you do. We are proud to serve the furry residents of the Pompano Beach area, with everything from pet wellness checkups to emergency care. But don’t just take our word for it – let the reviews from our patients speak for themselves!

If you’re concerned about toad poisoning in dogs, or have other health concerns, please call us at (954) 785-7780.


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