About this time last year, my husband took our puppy for an evening walk however, with minutes they had returned. The door burst open and he ran in shouting for help . Georgia our puppy was shaking and frothing at the mouth. I grabbed the phone, whilst heading for the bathroom with them and called our vet. I put the speaker phone on so that we could both hear the conversation with the nurse and comment. My husband explained that he had seen a frog/toad and that Georgia had gone over to investigate, the next minute she jumped back and began salivating and pawing at her mouth, seeing her distress he had then picked her up and ran home. We followed the vet s directions by gently rinsing out her mouth with large amounts of water gently so as none was forced into the lungs. By this time Georgia was literally frothing copious amounts it looked like shaving cream! Her mucous membranes were reddened, and she continued shaking. She continued to exhibit these symptoms as we then wrapped her in a blanket and raced to the vet s, on arrival she was whisked immediately away from us for investigation, diagnosis and treatment. The vet kept us fully updated of progress and thankfully several hours later we were able to bring Georgia home. Luckily this was a lesser reaction to the toxin of a Bufo Toad, if left untreated the poisoning can cause death.
So, I write this blog to caution you regarding the Bofu Toad as he presents a real threat to your pet.
A bit of history, the bufo toad was apparently introduced in 1936, the Agricultural Experimental Station of the University of Florida imported 200 marine toads from Puerto Rico and released them at Canal Point and Belle Glade in Palm Beach County to control sugar cane pests.
Bufo toads are omnivorous. They eat whatever is available. They will eat almost anything they can get a hold of small amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. In fact, they eat any animal they can swallow, and cat or dog food. They have been known to eats the bowls to!
Bufo toads are seen mostly during the rainy season (late May to mid October) and most often at night, near lighted areas, as they are attracted by the bugs. They are seen much less frequently during daylight hours, but can be found hiding under vegetation. Keep your dog on a leash and well supervised when outdoors at night. Carry a flashlight at night, so that if the dog seems overly curious about something you can check it out. These toads don’t actually attack, but a curious dog sniffing or licking the toad can get poisoned as a result.
The bufo toad (Bufo marinus) is also known as the marine toad, giant toad, cane toad It is a huge brown to grayish-brown toad with a creamy yellow belly and deeply-pitted parotoid glands extending down it’s back. Adult giant toads generally range in size from 6 to 9in (15 to 23cm), but can get larger.
The bufo toad sits in an upright position when it moves; it hops in short fast hops. When confronted by a predator, it is able to “shoot” bufo toxin from the parotoid and other glands on the back in the form of white viscous venom. The secretions are highly toxic to dogs, cats, and other animals, and can cause skin irritation in humans.
It is assumed Georgia mouthed the bufo toad, thus getting a large dose of the toxins, secreted from the skin and parotoid glands. Symptoms generally include profuse foamy salivation that looks like shaving cream, difficulty breathing, brick red gums, convulsions, paralysis, ventricular fibrillation, vomiting, and uncoordinated staggering.
If left untreated, the death can occur.
Remember the First Aid
In case of an emergency is the most important factor in helping your pet to survive. Rinsing the mouth out with large amounts of water is the single most important step you can take.
Do not use a hose to rinse the mouth as water can easily be forced into the lungs causing more problems. It will remove excess poison and may actually prevent a minor intoxication from progressing into a life-threatening one. Next, call ahead to your veterinarian s office to confirm that a doctor is present, and then calmly and safely transport your pet to the facility. The smaller the pet or the larger the toad, the greater there is a risk of toxicity.
Neither the toxin nor the urine is fatal to humans, but care should be taken not to get either in the mucus membranes, the mouth or the eyes.