Suspected Toad Poisoning … What do I do ?

English: A young Bufo marinus (Cane Toad). Dar...

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Today’s blog post is with thanks to Kate (one of my many “Facebook friends”) who posted the following status update.


I posted the following as a response…
If you suspect your dog is suffering from toad poisoning, you can flush his mouth with water from a garden hose. Try not to let the water run down his nose or throat by rinsing from the side of his mouth and holding his head down so the water runs out of his mouth. Gently rub the gums and inside of his mouth until the slimy feeling is gone.TRY TO NOT LET THE WATER RUN DOWN HIS NOSE OR THROAT !
Me being me I took the opportunity to email Dr Kevin from Gold Coast Vet Surgery to ask if he had anything further I could possibly share within a blog post for others to help educate pet parents… so now over to Dr Kevin:
I do hope that this dog is ok, unfortunately time is of the essence in Cane Toad poisoning cases.

I would add that once they have completed the initial rinsing with a hose as you described, they should still take the dog to an emergency vet ASAP since the next stage of symptoms may be convulsions and seizures or cardiac arrest and it happens in under 30min so no time to wait and see if symptoms progress before taking him in – it may be too late by then.

I advise people to take a bucket of water and a sponge with them in the car so that they can continue rinsing the mouth whilst driving (if there’s a 2nd person to do this … not the driver of course!!!)

[Unfortunately,] there are no other treatments or remedies that people may have around the house that could be helpful.

My response may seem over the top but I have seen too many dogs really suffer and several die due to the delaying in getting veterinary treatment. I was working in Darwin when cane toads arrived there and we certainly saw many cases because people and dogs didn’t really know to avoid them.

Because it is a combination of toxins, the symptoms can be different in different dogs. Symptoms can vary from just being spaced out / “High”, very off balance, frothing & foaming at the mouth with very red gums, muscle tremors, to weakness, collapse and seizures as I mentioned. It also commonly affects the heart.

There is no anti-dote and the treatment depends on what signs that they are showing. Typically they are put on a drip to protect the vital organs and flush any toxin out. Commonly we use drugs like Valium to control the seizures & help with anxiety. They often have to stay in hospital overnight for ongoing monitoring until they are out of the woods.


What can we learn from this ?

  • Time is of the essence – flush the dog’s mouth out however try to also transport the dog to your nearest vet (or emergency vet) asap.


SPECIAL  THANK  YOU TO Dr Kevin from Gold Coast Vet Surgery — thank you !  Where YOUR Pets ARE Family ( click here to learn more )

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