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Toad poisoning in pets

Cane Toads (Bufo Marinus) may seem like a harmless, gross looking, amphibian, but they can cause a great deal of harm to any cat or dog who wants to practice their predatory or play behaviour towards them.

The cane toad secretes white and sticky toxic venom through their parotoid glands, large swellings on each shoulder, when threatened. Toad poisoning occurs when your cat or dog mouths or bites a cane toad and the venom is absorbed through your pet’s lips and gums. The toxin is a hallucinogenic and cardiotoxic poison.

The signs of cane toad poisoning develops within minutes and death can occur in as short time as 30 minutes.

 So what signs do you look for?


  • Profuse salivation (drooling/frothing)
  • Vomiting
  • Disorientation
  • Brick red mucous membranes (gums) that feel slimy
  • Shivers and/or tremors
  • Muscle rigidity or spasms
  • Convulsions
  • Heart irregularities

What do you do if your pet is affected?

1. Wash your pet’s mouth out with a damp cloth, rinsing thoroughly after each wipe. This is essential and must be done immediately. Washing the gums will help remove the toxin and prevent any more being absorbed.   It is not recommended to use a hose to wash out your pet’s mouth as they can inhale the water.

2. Assess your pet’s condition and contact your veterinarian straight away.

3. When your veterinarian is confident your pet can go home, you will need to keep your pet as quiet as possible and under close observation for a few hours.

How do we manage these pests?

For control methods and more information visit;

RSPCA Australia Knowledgebase