Terror with a Toad

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.

Bufo Toad

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.

About Dragonfly Lady


  1. Meredith says:

    We usually welcome toads to our yard, and now we have a ton of tadpoles in our pond. I hope our Austin toads are not as lethal as that scary marine toad — thanks for the heads up, and we’ll watch our dogs and cats closely! While doing a search on toads, I ran across this link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/03/29/thousands-of-toxic-toads-_n_180469.html It doesn’t warm an animal lover’s heart, but it definitely tells the story of how bad and invasive those marine toads can be, and after your near-loss of your dog, you might appreciate the article. I’m so glad Georgia is ok.

  2. DragonflyLady says:

    Thanks for the comment, your link definitely does show how invasive they can be… at least they were put back to good use as fertiizer!

    Peggy often euthanizes invasive frogs by freezing them as stated in the article, I haven’t done it yet.. the idea of opening the fridge and finding a frozen frog… but it sounds as though it’s the the way forward with those pesky invasive critters!!!

  3. DragonflyLady says:

    Hey, I spied this in the world news today a new discovery from Ecuador – See Through Frogs – check the article out here:-


  4. Sheryl Nicholson says:

    Great info on Buffo frog – I’ll have to send you the video of the one my grandson and I took out of our fish pond – HUGE! Sheryl http://www.sheryl.com

  5. Lisa Curcio says:

    I have always disliked toads…it came from living in Hawaii for years. They grow them HUGE there! This is just one frog I don’t like. :p

  6. Kathleen says:

    Oh my. I’ve never heard of this kind of toad before. How scary for you and your dog. I welcome toads into my yard too but we don’t have this one. I’ve always appreciated the number of grasshoppers they eat! Good info to know and I’m glad your Georgia is okay now.

  7. DragonflyLady says:

    Thanks for your comment, I don’t want anymore midnight runs to the Vets so I am very aware of what she’s up to on our night walks at the moment!

Speak Your Mind