What is Bufo Toad Toxicity?
This species of toads known as bufo marinus or Rhinella marina are found along the gulf coast and are one of the leading causes of toxicity in dogs. When your dog comes into contact with one of these toads, the toad secretes toxins through their skin as a defense mechanism. Depending on how much contact and how much toxin is transferred to your dog will better determine how severe his toxicity will be.
The contact is typically oral, meaning your dog will lick, mouth, grab the toad and the result will be toxicity potentially. This contact can be life threatening to your dog and unfortunately, due to their jumping and large size, they tend to attract your dog’s attention easily. Due to this being a specific type of toxicity, it may resemble other toxicities your dog can get in to such as chemicals, pesticides, cleaners, and bug sprays and may be somewhat difficult to diagnosis if you do not see direct ingestion or contact with the toad.
Envenomation is the process of your dog being injected or ingesting a toxin from another animal. Bufo toad toxicity happens when your dog comes into contact with the giant, marine, or cane toad.
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Symptoms of Bufo Toad Toxicity in Dogs
The symptoms your dog will experience may vary between generalized and more specific to toad toxicity. Below the symptoms will be highlighted.
- Hyper salivating
- Hypermetric (spasms of the limbs)
- Tachycardia (rapid heart beat)
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Cardiac problems
- Neurological problems
- Oral irritation
- Unresponsive pupils
- Pawing at the mouth
- Respiratory difficulties
Causes of Bufo Toad Toxicity in Dogs
The cause is simply related to your dog coming into contact with the toad. This may be done by his:
- Licking the toad
- Picking the toad up in his mouth
- Chasing and playing with the toad
- Biting the toad
- Ingesting (eating) the toad
- Ingestion of tadpoles, toad eggs or dried out toads
Due to the small amount needed to create toxicity in your dog, there is a large concern anytime he comes into contact with a toad. There is a higher risk of him coming into contact with this toad if you live in the following areas and during warm/mild weather:
- Texas (Rio Grande Valley, Southern tip)
- Florida (Southern tip)
- Australia (Northeastern half )
- Northern Africa
- North Western Asia
Diagnosis of Bufo Toad Toxicity in Dogs
If you have noticed that your dog consumed a toad of any kind, especially if you live along the Gulf Coast – a trip to your veterinarian will be in order. When preparing for that visit, it will be important to tell your veterinarian if you think he came into contact with a toad and if possible, present evidence via pictures or a sample.
If you are not sure what he got in to, but you see he is experiencing the symptoms above, be prepared to share with your doctor where he was, what he was doing and when you began to notice the symptoms.
Signs and symptoms typically present within minutes of exposure to the toad and the event should be treated as an emergency. Your veterinarian will most likely want to do a physical exam and check for obvious signs of distress with his breathing, heart rate increase or decrease, temperature and more. As there is no test specific to bufo toad toxicity, your veterinarian will diagnose by eliminating other options and possible causes.
Treatment of Bufo Toad Toxicity in Dogs
Unfortunately, there is no cure for bufo toad toxicity; it is about symptoms management and reducing the contact with the toxin in your dog. If you know for a fact your dog came into contact with a toad immediately rinse his mouth out carefully – head lower than body. It will be beneficial for you to protect your hands as well due to the toxin being dangerous for human skin also. Once you have rinsed your dog’s mouth, get him to the veterinarian immediately.
Your veterinarian will treat your dog’s symptoms by possibly putting him on fluids if he presents as dehydrated. He may also be given medications to calm any seizures, tremors, regulate heart rate and breathing. Inducing vomiting to rid your dog of the toxins in his body may be done via charcoal as well. Your dog may receive oxygen if his breathing is not able to be controlled via medications.
Recovery of Bufo Toad Toxicity in Dogs
Typical recovery will be within 12 hours if treatment is started early enough without any long term effects. However, if your dog ingests a large amount there is a high probability of death due to the toxicity. Depending on your dog’s symptoms, your veterinarian may want to see him a few days after his initial appointment for a checkup.
Prevention is key due to there being no cure or antidote at this time to this toxin. If you know you live in an area that has these toads, try to keep your dog from wandering without you, if his water dish or food dish are outside don’t allow him to eat out of it if it has been out without supervision (toads have been known to eat and drink out of them leaving toxins behind), You can also keep an eye out at night as the toads are nocturnal.
Bufo Toad Toxicity Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals
I found Diego with a toad of some sort, and due to my region I am unsure of whether it was a Bufo Toad or not but I am terrified. I rinsed his mouth the best I could, and the only symptom as of now is panting, which could be totally unrelated. Please help.
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My dog came in contact with a toad this morning and I think the toad did secrete something. My dog drank water soon after.He does not have any symptoms. But we have noticed bumps on his body (he had played around with toads recently) and we thought it was from the the grass area we bring him, they just sprayed the lawn with chemicals and he had rolled around the grass so we thought it was a reaction to what they sprayed. Could coming into contact with the toads cause bumps on his skin?
The most important step to take when you see Jasper playing with a dog is to wash the mouth out as soon as possible to be on the safe side. Symptoms of poison toad licking usually consists of drooling, vomiting, diarrhoea, tremors, seizures, cardiac issues, lethargy and pawing at the mouth; skin rashes are not a symptom. It may be that Jasper is having an allergic reaction from contact with toads or from the environment; to be on the safe side wash out his mouth, bathe his whole body and give Benadryl at a dose of 1mg/lb twice per day to see if there is any improvement. If you don’t see any improvement or the symptoms worsen, visit your Veterinarian immediately. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM
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