Many owners take toads for granted. But the bad news is toads release toxins that can either blind your dog or kill your dog.
Toad poisoning in dogs is common, says PetMD in the article "Venom Toxicosis in Dogs."
My uncle’s mini dachshund died last Wednesday when she apparently bit a big toad.
We washed the mouths of the other three mini dachshunds with water and cotton as we didn’t have anything to flush the mouth with. They just moved into the new house.
Clean the gums, the teeth, the tongue thoroughly with cotton dipped in water, but it is best to flush the mouth with water to remove all toxins for at 10-15 minutes.
We were bent on removing any residue of any venom. This, while waiting for the driver to bring all dogs to the vet.
In cases of suspected poisoning due to toad venom, the minutes count. So please rush your dog to the vet immediately and wash the mouth, gums, teeth, and tongue while on the way to the clinic.
PetMD says: “Toad venom toxicity is relatively common in dogs. Being natural predators, it is common for dogs to catch toads in their mouths, thereby coming into contact with the toad's toxin, which the toad releases when it feels threatened. This highly toxic defense chemical is most often absorbed through the oral cavity membrane, but it may also enter the eyes, causing vision problems. Its effects are lethal if not treated immediately. “
PetMD says the two most common toads known for their toxic effects are the Colorado River Toad and the Marine Toad.
“Most cases of poisoning are reported during the warmest weather months when the toads are more active and humidity is high,” PetMD says.
So watch out for toads during hot months.
Pets usually come into contact with the Bufo toads during the very early morning hours which happened to my uncle’s dog which was six in the morning, or after evening has set.
“These toads are omnivorous, eating both living creatures, such as insects and small rodents and non-living food, such as pet food that has been left outdoors. Because of the latter, pets will often come into contact with these amphibians as they are eating from the animal's food dish, “ PetMD says.
Thus, PLEASE DO NOT LEAVE ANY PET FOOD OUTSIDE YOUR HOUSE, SPECIALLY WHERE YOUR PETS ROAM OR WHERE YOU SUSPECT TOADS LIVE.
Symptoms and Types
It takes only a few seconds for the symptoms of any toad encounter to come out. These may include the following:
1. The dog will cry, vocalize pain or discomfort.
2. The dog will try to scratch or paw at the mouth and/or eyes.
3. There is profuse drooling (saliva).
4. The membranes of the mouth might change in color, will become pale or inflamed.
5. There is difficulty in breathing.
6. Movements of the dog are unsteady.
7. The dog will go into a seizure.
8. Take the temperature. If very high, rush your dog to the vet.
9. The dog will collapse.
• Dogs who live near areas where toads live and dogs who spend a lot of time out of the house are at higher risk of contact.
PetMD says, “Toad venom toxicity is a health emergency requiring immediate treatment, as it can quickly lead to death. You will need to give the on-call veterinarian a thorough history of your dog's health, a description of the onset of symptoms, and the likelihood that this is occurring as the result of contact with a Bufo toad.”
The vet will
1. Conduct a complete physical examination.
2. Take blood and urine samples.
3. Order a complete blood count, biochemistry profile and urinalysis.
“The results of these tests are often found to be normal in these animals, except for abnormally high levels of potassium (hyperkalemia). The dog may also exhibit an abnormal heartbeat, and if your veterinarian has time to conduct an electrocardiogram(ECG), the results will typically confirm an abnormal heart rhythm in conjunction with toad venom poisoning. “ PetMD says.
You must bring your dog to the vet immediately as this is an emergency that may lead to the death of your dog, PetMD says.
“Time remains a crucial factor in the survival of the affected animal, " PetMD says.
1. “The first step of treatment is to flush the mouth with water for 5-10 minutes to prevent further absorption of the venom through the mouth membranes.
2. The doctor will also need to keep the dog's body temperature stable, which may require keeping it in a cool bath.
3. Heart abnormalities are a common symptom, so your veterinarian will want to monitor the heart's ability to function and respond to the treatment. An ECG will be set up and continuously monitored to evaluate your dog's cardiac activity.
4. Drugs can be used to control the abnormal heart rhythm, and also to reduce the amount of saliva your dog is producing in response to the toxin.
5. If your dog is in an obvious amount of pain, your doctor may also decide to anesthetize it in order to reduce the severity of the symptoms.”
Living and Management
The dog will be monitored continuously until he or she has fully recovered.
The vet will also continue to record the heart's rhythms using ECG to evaluate the response to the treatment.
A pet who was treated immediately—“before enough of the toxin has had a chance to reach the system, within about 30 minutes”– has a better chance of recovery, PetMD says.
“However, the overall prognosis is not good for most animals, and death is very common in dogs that have been exposed to toad venom, “ PetMD warns.
To prevent toad venom poisoning, please
1. Check out your garden or plant pots for toads.
2. Clean vacant lots near you or ask the homeowners’ association to cut the grass and remove possible areas where toads will live like a pile of cut grass or any objects or junk.
3. Monitor your roaming pets as often as you can while outside your house.
4. Do not leave pet food outside the house.