As a pet owner, you must be aware of the creatures outside of your home that can harm your pet. Toads are small and may seem harmless, but certain toads pose a huge risk to pets and humans alike. Toads are not naturally aggressive, but when threatened their glands secrete will toxins as a defense mechanism from predators. If your pet licks or bites a toad, they can be severely poisoned.
Toxic toads such as the Colorado River Toad and Cane Toad can be found in the United States, but where exactly? These species can typically be found in warmer regions such as Florida, Arizona, California, Hawaii, and Texas. They like to reside in damp areas such as ponds, gardens, woods, and lawns. These toads can be as long as nine inches in adulthood. If you live in these warm regions, monitor your pet’s environment when they’re outside so you can make sure these toads aren’t around.
Toad Toxicity Symptoms
When toads feel threatened, they will release toxins to protect them. If your pet licks or bites a toad and ingests these toxins, they can experience severe poisoning. Possible clinical signs of poisoning include:
- Increased body temperature
- Difficulty breathing
- Abnormal heart rhythm
- Bright-red, inflamed gums
- Eye irritation
If you do not seek treatment, your pet’s nervous and cardiovascular systems can be severely damaged, leading to heart arrhythmias and unfortunately death.
If your pet has licked or bitten a toad, contact your veterinarian and Pet Poison Helpline at (855) 764-7661 for immediate medical help. Carefully rinse your pet’s mouth out with cold water to remove any toxins. Take your dog to the veterinary clinic so your veterinarian can evaluate your pet and administer treatment. Specific treatment will depend on the dosage and amount of time that has passed since your pet interacted with the toad. IV fluids will help flush the toxins out of the system and medications may be required to control seizures. Prevention is key with pet poisoning, so monitor your pet’s environment to keep them as safe as you can.