Cane toads are a common cause of poisoning in dogs and, less commonly, they poison cats. Toad toxicity occurs when an animal mouths the toad or sometimes when the toad’s poison gets into their eyes. The cane toad secretes a toxic venom through glands which are located on 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 pet with a toad, you should immediately wipe the gums with a damp cloth, continually rinsing the cloth in-between wipes. This is essential and must be done immediately. Washing the gums will help remove the toxin and prevent more being absorbed. This will need to be done for at least 10-15mins. Keep your pet as quiet as possible and under close observation for a few hours.
Do not direct a hose into your pet’s mouth. This may force water into the lungs.
Symptoms of toad toxicity in pets
- Excess salivation (drooling/frothing)
- Bright red mucous membranes (gums)
In severe cases your pet may experience:
- Muscle rigidity or spasms
- Heart irregularities
If your pet is showing any of the more severe signs, or if the first signs are not resolving, you will have a good chance of saving its life with these additional prompt action.
- Transport the dog to your vet as quickly and quietly as possible.
- Keep your pet cool (as they overheat when convulsing) and gently restrained.
- If it is convulsing, it can damage itself by knocking against objects – try to gently restrain your pet by wrapping it in a towel.
- It may not recognise you and may also become quite vicious. Handle an effected animal with extreme caution.