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What are Toad Venom Toxicosis?

Your dog sees almost every living thing as prey, and whether he is just playing or serious, attacking a toad (biting, licking, eating) can be fatal. If your dog spends a lot of time outside, and you live in an area where there are toads (i.e. near water sources, fields), there is an excellent chance that he will have an encounter with a toad. All toads in North America can secrete toxin, but most are not lethal. However, there are some that can kill your dog in less than an hour. The Giant toad, also known as the Marine or Cane toad, is the most common toxic toad and it is found in Texas and Florida. The Colorado River toad, which lives in the southwestern United States and Mexico, is another toad that can be lethal. Even if your dog does not touch the toad at all, if the toad has gotten into your dog’s water or food bowl, he can be poisoned. Even common toads have enough toxin to make your dog sick or cause severe pain, so it is best to try to reduce the toad population and do not leave dog food and water outside during the summer months. If you suspect that your dog may have eaten or come into contact with a toad, flush his mouth, nose, and eyes with water and clean his teeth with water and a toothbrush or cloth to remove as much toxin as you can before going to the veterinarian. It is best to go see the veterinarian or visit the emergency animal clinic in your area even if your dog is not showing any symptoms.

Toad venom toxicosis is a common condition in dogs of all breeds, and can be deadly if not treated right away. All toads have the ability to produce a toxin when they feel they are in danger, but many are not life-threatening. However, there are some that can be incredibly toxic to your dog within minutes just from oral exposure. There are two main kinds of toxins from toads, which are bufagenins (digitalis effect) and bufotoxins (anesthetic effect). Bufagenin toxins can cause heart rate alteration and arrhythmias and bufotoxins can increase blood pressure to a dangerous level. Either type can be a life-threatening emergency depending on the type and size of toad as well as how the dog was exposed.

Toad Venom Toxicosis Average Cost

From 35 quotes ranging from $2,000 - $10,000

Average Cost

$3,500

Symptoms of Toad Venom Toxicosis in Dogs

  • Excessive drooling
  • Shaking head vigorously
  • Scratching and rubbing at eyes and mouth
  • Inflamed and red gums
  • Extreme rise in body temperature
  • Having trouble breathing
  • Vomiting
  • Dilated eyes
  • Dizziness
  • Whining and howling
  • Head pressing
  • Diarrhea
  • Seizures
  • Sudden collapse
  • Death
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Causes of Toad Venom Toxicosis in Dogs

The obvious cause is toad venom that your dog has ingested. There are also risk factors to avoid, such as:

  • Keeping your dog outside all the time
  • Leaving your dog’s food and water outside
  • Allowing your dog to chase, play with, or attack toads and other small creatures
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Diagnosis of Toad Venom Toxicosis in Dogs

Be sure to let your veterinarian know what kind of toad you suspect your dog has come into contact with. In fact, if you can get a picture that would be great, but do not waste time or delay treatment to do so. The veterinarian will make sure your dog is stabilized first, before any kind of examination or tests can be done. Oxygen therapy may be necessary as well as IV fluids and medication to control nervous system or cardiac symptoms. The veterinarian will flush your dog’s mouth, nose, and eyes with saline solution and do a physical examination. There is no medical test that can verify toad venom toxicosis, so your veterinarian will go by what you tell him about the event and the symptoms he can see, although he may do an EKG to check your dog’s heart function.

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Treatment of Toad Venom Toxicosis in Dogs

Since there is no known antidote for toad venom, the best choice of treatment is removing as much toxin from your dog’s system as possible by flushing his mouth and nose with water or saline solution. The rest of the treatment plan will depend on how much and what kind of toxin your dog has been exposed to. If cardiac issues are involved, atropine will be given, which also helps to decrease the chance of aspiration (inhalation of saliva) by reducing saliva production. If your dog has symptoms of central nervous system disturbance, a barbiturate or diazepam will be given. In addition, oxygen therapy and IV fluids will be given to administer medications when needed. Most likely, if your dog is having any kind of breathing difficulties or heart abnormalities, your veterinarian will want to keep him in the hospital for observation overnight.

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Recovery of Toad Venom Toxicosis in Dogs

The chance of recovery is good if your dog is treated in less than a half hour. If not, the prognosis is not good for most dogs and is likely to be fatal without immediate medical treatment.

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Toad Venom Toxicosis Average Cost

From 35 quotes ranging from $2,000 - $10,000

Average Cost

$3,500

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Toad Venom Toxicosis Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Beagle

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Fourteen Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Difficulty Breathing, Rapid Heart Rate, NI Appetite

My dog has either DCM or a grade 5-6 murmur. No appetite, very weak. No coughing. She ate a small toad or two on Saturday. Vomited Sunday. By Monday am she could barely walk 15 feet without stopping. We live in Ohio and there are a ton of small toads around our pond. I have only seen her eat the dead ones. Her heart is only slightly enlarged, the vet said her stomach wall was very thick. Thought maybe some kind of infection? Xrays ruled out any tumors. No fever. Elevated red blood cell count. Do you think she may have toad poisoning?

July 9, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Sara O. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Hello, So sorry to hear about your dog. This could be toad poisoning. Toads can be very toxic and can cause many issues. It would be best for your dog to go to the vet. They will want to put her on IV fluids to help with the toad toxicity. I hope your dog gets to feeling better soon

July 9, 2020

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Marlow

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Basset Hound Staffordshire Bull Terrier

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2 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Head Shaking
Whinning
Spitting

I just took my dog out to use the bathroom and he found a toad in the grass. He picked it up and spit it out. When we came inside he was shaking his head and spitting. I gave him some ice cubes and washed out his mouth, I also use his dental mouth foam. I’m not sure if I should visit a vet because I’m not sure if the toad was venomous. It was a brown toad with a dark brown pattern, it looked like a normal backyard toad. It was about 2-3 inches big. I’m keeping an eye on my dog but I’m debating on if I should seek help from a vet.

Aug. 25, 2018

Marlow's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

Some toads may cause some drooling or other issues when held in the mouth, you should think about visiting your Veterinarian for an examination to be on the safe side. Without examining him myself I cannot say for certain that he is in the clear or not. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

Aug. 25, 2018

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Lola

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West Highland White Terrier

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2 Years

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Very Groogy Not Eating Or Drinking

We think our dog came into contact with a toad as she was pawing at her mouth and drooling heavily my husband flushed out her mouth with the hose and took her staight to the vet as we were not sure what it was they checked her for snake bite this test came back negative. What we are worried about it has been over 24 hours and she is still not improving.She has only had a very small amount to eat and drink and cant seem to walk very well. Do you think it could be a tick.

April 15, 2018

Lola's Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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1611 Recommendations

If Lola is not improving over 24 hours and still seems lethargic and not eating, she should be rechecked by your veterinarian. Without knowing the cause, she may need supportive therapy to keep hydrated, and there may be medications that your veterinarian can prescribe that may help her. I hope that she is okay.

April 15, 2018

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Ranger

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Vizsla

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1 Year

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Mild severity

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2 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

I'm pretty sure my dog came in contact with a Giant Toad (cane toad?). I heard scuffling and thought my dogs were fighting but I found my vizsla having a seizure and my other dog barking exitedly. He was foaming at the mouth and conscious. It lasted for maybe a minute but it felt like forever. I have him his space but monitored him while I searched for a possible cause. When I found the toad possibility I rinsed out his mouth with he hose but the. He immediately went to drinking a ton of water so I was worried he may have flushed more toxin down him. I've been watching him for just shy of two hrs and he is doing fine. He was responsive to command almost immediately after, his breathing is normal and his gums did not look swollen or red. He was exhausted but he would get up every time I shifted positions (like he usually does to follow me). I will call the vet first thing in the morning but wanted to ask if there are any other things I should look out for as possible causes (btw-I'm going to search my yard for signs of a toad or toad remenants as soon as the sun comes up) for this seizure activity.

Sept. 11, 2017

Ranger's Owner

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3320 Recommendations

There are many different types of toads with varying toxicity found all around the world; if you live in an area known to have poisonous toads, this could be a strong possibility. Some dogs may get symptoms of toad poisoning just from drinking from a bowl that a toad sat in or passed through. Rinsing out the mouth was a good initial step, but visiting a Veterinarian is important; if you see a progression of symptoms you should visit an Emergency Veterinarian to be on the safe side. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poison/toads/ www.msdvetmanual.com/toxicology/toad-poisoning/overview-of-toad-poisoning

Sept. 11, 2017

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Sam

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German Shepherd

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3 Years

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Mild severity

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1 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting
Pawing At Mouth
Licking Lips

My dog licked a toad that was in the yard. He started licking and pawing his mouth. I tried washing his mouth as best I could but he can be a difficult dog. He drank some water and ate a little food and then about 4 hours after the incident he vomited, then drank water and went back to bed. It has been about 16 hours. When I got up this morning he ate his breakfast and drank some water. He wanted to play so we chased ball in the yard. Not sure what to do, I didn't realize what had happened at first and he didn't go to the vet. right away. Please help.

July 26, 2017

Sam's Owner


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3320 Recommendations

Whilst not all toads will cause death in dogs, most will cause some gastric upset from the secretions on their back. Washing out Sam’s mouth was the best step to take; if you live in an area known for poisonous toads visit your Veterinarian. Toxicosis from poisonous toads usually occur within minutes with the symptoms detailed above. If in doubt, visit your Veterinarian. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

July 26, 2017

Our English Bulldog was at home and began to shake in his cage wildly, he then threw up. When I arrived I checked him out but he seemed fine. No falling over or diarrhea, he was in his usual great spirits. By that night our 2 Year Boy was gone, if I had taken him to Vet I wouldn’t be writing this. Do yourselves a favor and get your pets in if they foam at the mouth, throw up, shake....He was a big boy and my mom was watching him. He foamed at the mouth in his cage and had this episode in it, we all thought it was a bad indigestion.

Sept. 19, 2018

Maritza C.


My dog was trying to get a frog and the frog defenitly came in contact with my dogs mouth a couple of times. Since then he was drooling a TON. In the 7 years I have had him he has never drooled once. He also threw up once and was making a heaving noise. It's been about 20 minutes later and he hasn't drooled or thrown up again. He is a small toy Maltese dog. I have called a vet and they referred me to poison control but the phone call alone cost around 100$. I will pay anything for my dog but if just like to know if he will be ok without any medical help? And if the symptoms will show hours later?

Sept. 24, 2017

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Sunny

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Mutt

dog-age-icon

11 Years

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Breathing Difficulty
Excessive Saliva

I let my dog out in the back yard (Southern California canyon), heard him bark a little and he ran back to me when called. He came back coughing a little, as he sometimes does when he’s calming down from being riled up. Inside, he had unusually thick saliva all over his mouth and was having trouble breathing for a couple minutes. I looked in his mouth and saw nothing unusual besides the thick saliva. I waited for him to possibly cough something out, but he didn’t. He wouldn’t drink water, so I lifted his water bowl up and he had a hefty drink. All seems back to normal after he drank water, and he went to sleep. His gums look normal for him (older dog) and his pupils shrink when I flash a light in his eyes. Wondering what happened, I remembered that sometimes I see large toads around my house. I went out back to look for a toad but didn’t see one, not to say there wasn’t one there before. I am watching for more symptoms, this was over an hour ago. Any ideas if this could’ve been from a toad encounter?

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Nubi

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Min Pin

dog-age-icon

5 Years

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Critical severity

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0 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Seizure

Our Min-Pin sniffed a Colorado River Toad and immediately started drooling and walking really funny. His eyes were dilated, his tongue was purple and swollen and he was salivating a thick saliva. We immediately jumped in the shower with him and washed his mouth out. We shoved 4 Benadryl 25mg tablets down his throat then took him outside and flushed his mouth for about 5 minutes with the hose. It took about 30 minutes for him to start feeling better.

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Cesar

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Jack Russell Terrier

dog-age-icon

13 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Seizures

Our Jack Russell got a buff toad many times and we've washed his mouth out. Tonight when my husband was walking him on a tight lead, he jumped behind a tree and got a Bufo. He was frothing immediately and started seizing within minutes. We washed his mouth out but it didn't work. We rushed him to the vet and he continued to seize. He's intubated (on breathing machine) and sedated heavily. He aspirated all of his dinner. It's been 3 hours. Can he survive aspiration pneumonia of that much liquid and constant seizures? Is it cruel to continue treatment or should we put him down?

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Peach

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Dachshund

dog-age-icon

6 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

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1 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Vomiting
Shaking Head
Pale Gum
Foam In Mouth

Hello, I came home to one of my dogs not responding, till i called the other dogs & she came out, she looked fine till we noticed her head twitching & shaking alot, we thought there was just something in her ear but that was not the case. We took a closer look & noticed that there was white foam coming out of her mouth, we took her a 5-10 min. Shower and put lots of water in her mouth just in case if she was poisoned. But after the shower, she seem fine till 6-7 hours went by & she starts to vomit out food. Is there any way to figure out what she have eaten or bitten? Is there a way to help her solution without going to the veterinarian? Please...

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Maddie

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Labrador Retriever

dog-age-icon

3 Years

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

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3 found helpful

pill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filledpill-rating-filled

Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Dark Red Mucous Membrane

My three year old lab suddenly died a couple days ago. We had no idea why she was fine all day then ran off into the side yard and 5-10 minutes later when I went to call her she was dead. The only visible signs of anything different were her gums beings a weird dark red color. We are thinking she came into contact with a poisonous toad but are not sure. I just wish I had seen another sign. This all happened so fast. So far this seems like the only plausible answer. Anyone else experience death this quickly or no other signs then just death?

Toad Venom Toxicosis Average Cost

From 35 quotes ranging from $2,000 - $10,000

Average Cost

$3,500