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Bufo Toad Toxicity (Toad Poisoning)

BUFO TOADS ARE DEADLY!!! THE RECENT RAINS HAVE BROUGH THEM OUT!!
IF YOU SEE YOUR DOG COME INTO CONTACT WITH A TOXIC BUFO TOAD, COME TO THE JPESC IMMEDIATELY!

The old legend of kissing a frog and having it turn into a handsome prince may well have originated from hallucinations caused by kissing a species of Bufo Toads. Bufo Marinus, or the Cane Toad as it is commonly called, secretes a thick, white, highly hallucinogenic neurotoxin from the glands along its sides. These glands are used by the toad to defend itself when disturbed or threatened. Dogs that mouth at or bite these toads while investigating them can absorb this toxin through their gums. The poison is very irritating to mucous membranes which will cause initial signs of exposure including drooling, foaming at the mouth, and bright red gums. Once absorbed, the toxin interferes with the heart rate and rhythm, which can be life threatening particularly for small dogs. Other symptoms of toxicity can include vomiting, stiff limbs, loss of balance, and seizures.

In order to save your pet’s life, if you suspect a Bufo Toad toxicity, IMMEDIATELY:

  1. Use a damp washcloth to rise out your pet’s mouth and gently wipe the gums. This should help to reduce the amount of toxin absorbed. Be careful not to allow your pet to swallow the water. DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS IF YOUR PET IS EXPERIENCING A SEIZURE.
  2. Call your Veterinarian during their regular business hours or Jupiter Pet Emergency and Specialty Clinic during nights, weekends, and holidays. Follow whatever instructions you are given.
  3. TRY TO REMAIN CALM. Be prepared to transport your pet as quickly as possible to the facility for emergency treatment.

To Avoid Toad Exposure:

  1. Cane Toads are very common in South Florida. Keep your pet leashed when outside. This is especially important during the rainy season, at dusk, or early in the morning; this is when the toads are most active.
  2. Toads often hide in moist areas, around sprinklers, under bushes and in other vegetation. Keep your dog away from these areas.

For more information about Bufo Toads, you can visit the Florida Wildlife Extension Website.

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