Toad toxicity occurs when an animal grabs a cane toad (Bufomarinus). The cane toad secretes a toxic venom through glands which are located a the back of their head. The cane toad venom is very sticky and irritating.
What to do if your pet has mouthed a cane toad
If you see your animal with a toad, you should immediately wipe the gums with a damp cloth, continually rinsing the cloth in-between wipes. This will need to be done for at least 10-15mins.
Do not direct a hose into your pets mouth. This may force water into the lungs.
Symptoms of toad toxicity in pets
- Excess salivation
- Bright red mucous membranes (gums)
In severe cases your animal can also experience:
- Muscle spasms
- Heart arrhythmias
If your animal is showing any of the more severe signs, or if the first signs are not resolving, your animal needs veterinary attention immediately.
In more severe cases critical monitoring is required, which can include fluid therapy, anti-seizure medications, oxygen therapy, ECG monitoring of the heart and monitoring of the vital signs (heart rate, respiration, temperature, and blood pressure). Blood tests may also be required to determine hydration status and organ function.
Once your pet is able to go home, apart from being kept quiet for at least 24hrs and keeping away from toads, you can continue your normal routine.
How to prevent toad toxicity in pets
Toads are a nocturnal menace. They regularly poison dogs, such as Terriers, which often chase small animals.
To prevent the problem, do not allow your dog to go outside unattended at night. Take it out on a lead if the need arises. Place two or three bells on your dog’s collar. The bells will not affect the toad, but you will learn to recognise the telltale jingling sound the bells make when your dog is ‘suspiciously active’. Immediate investigation when the bells are ringing may save your dog’s life.
There are several ways to control the toad population in your yard. The best is probably to place wire mesh (6mm x 6mm) around the outside of your fence. The mesh should be buried 10cm and extend at least 40cm above the ground. You can also try to trap the toads with funnel traps along the fence, or by placing a very deep bucket in the ground near a light – the toad is attracted to the light, falls into the bucket, and can’t climb out. Eliminate, as much as possible, any fresh standing water as the toads look for fish-free water in which to breed. Cover the swimming pool and turn out pool and outside lights as much as possible.
Written by Solange Newton