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Oh no, my dog bit a toad!

October 17, 2016

If you live in South Florida, you’re already familiar with so many of our creepy-crawly critters: palmetto bugs, lizards, stinging red ants, mosquitoes (even before we worried about Zika), and – of course, fleas and ticks.  But the largest, ugliest, most worrisome of them all for pet lovers is the Bufo Marinus, or Giant toad.  If your pet tries to bite one, they risk being poisoned by the highly toxic substances that these toads secrete from a gland in the back of their head.

According to the University of Florida Wildlife Extension, these ugly creatures breed year-round, anywhere there’s a lake, river, creek or standing water.  And with the recent rain that we’ve been having, West Kendall Animal Hospital has been seeing a larger number of toad poisonings than usual.

So what should a pet owner do to protect their pet?  First, do what you can to eliminate these toads in your yard by removing pet food and standing water.  Second, supervise your pet when they go out in your yard.  Third, know the basic first aid to administer if you suspect your pet might have bitten (or even mouthed) a toad – immediately rinse your pet’s mouth with water, carefully rubbing the teeth and gums to remove the sticky toxins.  Observe your pet for signs of toxicity including excessive salivation, twitching eyes, staggering, redness to the gums, vomiting, irregular heart rate (either too fast or too slow), and even seizures.  If your pet is showing any of these symptoms, your pet will need immediate veterinary care.

Many pets with toad poisonings will survive with treatment, but toad poisonings can be deadly.  And don’t believe that your dog or cat will learn from the experience and never try it again!





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