Do you have a pet dog that loves to explore the outdoors? If so, chances are they will encounter several creatures, such as toads. Dogs often show signs of fascination and curiosity towards them – sometimes even going as far as licking or biting them! Unfortunately, for certain types of toads, the consequences can be serious for our furry friends. Read below to identify the symptoms associated with dogs licking toxic toads and what steps owners should take if their canine companions become exposed.
Toxic Toads in the US
Toxic toads, specifically the Cane toad and Colorado River toad, are invasive species in parts of the United States. Cane toads have established themselves in various regions of Florida, Texas, and Hawaii, and Colorado River toads have been spotted primarily in the southwestern states. As the populations of these invasive species have grown, so have the risks associated with their venom. Their toxin, known as bufotoxin, is secreted from glands on their backs. This potent toxin acts as a defense mechanism against predators. The venom can cause severe clinical signs and even death in dogs if it is ingested or comes into contact with eyes or mucus membranes.
Toad Poisoning Symptoms
The impact of toad poisoning can vary depending on the specific toad species and the extent of your dog’s exposure. If not promptly addressed, the venom can harm the nervous and cardiovascular systems, leading to heart arrhythmias or even fatality. Potential signs of poisoning include:
- Increased body temperature
- Difficulty breathing
- Abnormal heart rhythm
- Bright red, inflamed gums
- Eye irritation
If you suspect your dog has interacted with a toad, it is crucial to take immediate action. Begin by carefully rinsing their mouth with cold, clean water, and reach out to your veterinarian and Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661 for urgent help. The treatment for toad poisoning is dependent on the amount of venom consumed and how long ago it occurred. Your veterinarian may administer medications to manage seizures and provide IV fluids to eliminate the toxins from their system. Monitor your dog’s whereabouts when outside and ensure that toads are not in your dog’s daily environment.