Did You Know That Your Dog Could Get Poisoned by a Toad?

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I would have never thought that this was even a possibility until I read an article on it the other day.  But guess what?  Toad poisoning in dogs is not uncommon.


According to John Gicking, a Tampa veterinarian, “several cases of toad poisoning are treated every week during periods of increased Bufo toad activity, particularly in spring and summer and after periods of heavy rain.”

Toad poisoning occurs when a dog bites into a Bufo toad. According to a study done of those dog owners with veterinary pet insurance, there were over 300 cases of toad poisoning of dogs during a four year period.

This was listed as one of the top 10 causes of poisoning in the four year period. ( And this is only for those who had pet insurance.

How exactly do dogs get poisoned by a toad? The fact is that all toads secrete a substance through their skin that tastes bad, but not all toads are poisonous; there is a specific species of toad, however, that secrets a very toxic substance. This are the Bufo alvarius and the Bufo marinus toads.

Since dogs see toads as prey they will often catch them. Supposedly this toxin in poisonous toads is similar to what humans take for their heart, digoxin.  When the dog bites the poisonous toad the toads parotid glands get pressed down and they secret this toxin.

The toxin is then absorbed through the mucous membranes of the dog’s mouth, very rarely through the eyes also. Interestingly there have also been incidents of toad poisoning when a toad sat in a dog’s water or sometimes even just on the edge of their water dish.

This digoxin like toxin, if ingested by a dog is very toxic and will produce the following symptoms. These symptoms occur almost the minute the dog ingests the toad venom.

  • Loose stools
  • Overheating
  • The head will start to shake
  • Severe drooling
  • Brick red mucous membranes
  • Trouble breathing
  • Vomiting a yellow fluid
  • Dilate pupils, seizures, loss of coordination, passing out and death.

If your dog has bitten a toad or had one in his mouth you should consider this a life threatening situation and should rinse their mouth immediately, using running water from a hose, faucet or any other means.

You should the call your veterinarian immediately or the closest emergency animal hospital.


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