You live in beautiful South Florida…Your morning coffee is poured, so you let your dog out in the yard to do his business.
But when he comes back in the house you notice that something’s just not right. He’s smacking his lips. Then out of the corner of your eye you see him pawing at his mouth; then the salivating starts. So you think that maybe he licked something irritating…but wait! Did you just see his eyes moving back and forth real fast? Does he seem a bit unstable on his feet?
You better call the emergency hospital! A trained emergency room veterinarian or technician will probably know what’s going on with your dog from just hearing these symptoms on the phone. A Bufo toad is probably to blame.
Exposure to these toads usually occurs late at night or in the early hours of the morning…especially after it rains. These toads have large glands near their eyes that secrete a very powerful toxin when the frog is threatened. The toxin is a white liquid that can be irritating to your skin but can kill a dog or cat if ingested. Commonly, terrier breeds are affected; probably since they are so inquisitive with moving objects outdoors!
Wipe out your pet’s mouth with a damp washcloth while concentrating mostly on the sides of the oral cavity. Do this for at least ten minutes. Be careful to not get bitten! Then get in the car and drive to your nearest veterinary hospital.
Your dog will be taken to the treatment area so that his mouth can be rinsed out again. This is the only way to rid him of the toxin. He may have a seizure. His heart rate may be too fast or too slow. He will be observed closely for any abnormalities caused by this toxin and appropriate treatment will be offered as the need arises.
If treated promptly, dogs can recover from exposure to Bufo toxin, but treatment must be swift!
The best way to prevent exposure is to walk your dog on a leash and watch out for these toads before your dog even sees it and don’t keep your pets food outside.
If you have any questions about these toads or other emergencies, don’t hesitate calling us…we’re always happy to share our knowledge with you!
C. Wasserman DVM JD