Toad Venom Toxicosis in Dogs

Veterinary reviewed by: Michele K.

Toad Venom Toxicosis in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

Veterinary reviewed by: Michele K.

Toad Venom Toxicosis in Dogs - Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Recovery, Management, Cost

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 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 most 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.

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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 might 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 might 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.

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Worried about the cost of Toad Venom Toxicosis treatment?

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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 for the more poisonous toads. If not, the prognosis is not good for most dogs with these particular toads, 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

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American Staffordshire Terrier

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Eight Years

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2 found helpful

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2 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Noisy Breathing

Its like she is having trouble breathing i think she might have ate something like a frog or toad

Oct. 19, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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2 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Without being able to see her, unfortunately, I cannot see if she is having trouble breathing. If you think that she ate something toxic or that is irritating her throat or airways, it would be best to have her seen by a veterinarian right away, as she may need emergency care.

Oct. 19, 2020

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Staffordshire Bull Terrier

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Two Years

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0 found helpful

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0 found helpful

Has Symptoms

Blood In Vomit

“ate”/ chewed up a frog. throwing up all day, now blood.

Sept. 27, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. I hope that you were able to have your pet seen and that they are feeling better. If the problem is still going on, It would be best to have your pet seen by a veterinarian, as they can examine them, see what might be going on, and get treatment if needed.

Oct. 14, 2020

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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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