At this time of year, toads are rearing their ‘oh so ugly’ warty heads and causing terrible troubles with our pooches.
Toads are dangerous amphibians. They are a common cause of poisoning in dogs and, less commonly, they poison cats.
Toads exude a milky white toxin mostly from poison glands behind their eyes, but elsewhere on their body as well. They squeeze this poison onto the surface of their skin when they are under threat. When treated roughly, they can even squirt the poison up to two metres.
Dogs and cats are poisoned when they mouth the toad or sometimes when the toad’s poison gets into their eyes.
The toad’s poison is also dangerous to humans and deaths have occurred. Some adults have even been affected when they absorbed the poison through cuts in their skin after handling a toad.
Keelback Snakes are not susceptible to the venom and Crows and Water Rats have learnt to turn the toad over and eat only the non-poisonous internal organs.
In China, they have used toad poison as an expectorant, a heart stimulant and as a diuretic. It has also been used as a remedy for toothache and sinusitis. In Africa and South America, toad venom has been used on the tips of arrows as a poison.
Toads were introduced into Australia in 1935 to control the cane beetle – a disastrous move as toads have no natural enemies in Australia. Australian Terriers and Fox Terriers also think this was a dumb idea, as they are the breeds most often affected by toad poisoning.
This is what you need to do if your pet is poisoned.
Due to its corrosive and irritant nature, the toad’s venom will cause profuse salivation soon after your pet bites it. Pets affected by the irritant venom will paw their mouth due to the pain. If you see your pet drooling and distressed but haven’t seen it attack a toad, look at its gums. If they are red and inflamed, toad poisoning is likely.
Vomiting often occurs, especially in cats. Cats also show hindquarter weakness and a fixed trance-like stare.
If your dog is poisoned, it will usually suffer from seizures or convulsions. These convulsions are often fatal unless you seek urgent veterinary attention.
STOP – SEEK VET ATTENTION NOW.
The poison can also affect the heart of dogs and cats, causing immediate cardiac arrest.
After it has mouthed a toad, it is vital that you remove all trace of the poison from your pets’ teeth and gums.
If you suspect a toad has poisoned your pet, you will have a good chance of saving its life with this additinal prompt action.
There are a few things to consider first –
If you have answered yes to any of the above we would suggest getting some training – whilst we can write how to do it via treats you still need a Live toad and we are not prepared to put your dog at risk if you miscalculate and your dog gets toad poisoning.