Log In

Reset Password

Protect your dog from toxic toads

First Prev 1 2 Next Last

As the warm summer months approach, the risk of exposure to The Bermuda Toad increases. The Bermuda Toad (Rhinella Marina), initially brought to the Island to eat large numbers of cockroaches and other undesirable garden insects such as centipedes, is the only species of toad found on the Island. And while we applaud its efforts to keep the numbers of creepy crawlies in check, it represents a dangerous threat to our canine companions.

Rhinella Marina are poisonous to dogs. When provoked, they excrete a venomous toxin from enlarged parotid (salivary) glands located behind their eyes. They can excrete enough venom to kill a dog. This venom behaves primarily as a neurological toxin and can cause seizures (convulsions). However, it also can also affect the capability or quality of shrinking or contracting muscles of the heart.

Initial indications that your dog has been in contact with a toad are mouth irritation, salivation, shaking their head, pawing at their mouth and general distress. These initial signs are usually noticed immediately after exposure and will usually disappear within half an hour. At this stage you may take a dry paper towel and wipe your dog 's mouth to remove any residual venom. You can clean around the eyes with cotton balls soaked in warm water. Do not use vinegar. It is very dangerous if a dog accidentally inhales it as it can cause a severe or even fatal pneumonia.

More severe signs of exposure are twitching, vomiting, and seizures (convulsions). If you notice any of these signs it is very important to contact your veterinarian immediately. The effects from the toxin are dose related. This means that it doesn't take as much toxin to cause seizures in a smaller breed of dog, such as a Jack Russell Terrier or a Yorkie, as it does a larger breed dog, such as a Labrador Retriever.

Dogs that develop twitching or seizures need to be treated by a veterinarian immediately. They are generally sedated or anaesthetised to control the seizures until their livers have had time to metabolise the toxin. During this time, many additional steps are taken to support their body systems, such as reducing often high body temperatures and placing them on intravenous fluids.

Toads are common Island wide and year round. However, they are far more prevalent in the evenings of the warmer months, especially after it has rained. So be mindful if you let your dog's off leash into the garden at night. Early detection of a toad poisoning is the key to a safe recovery. Know the signs, and be sure to contact your veterinarian on their emergency pager service if you are unsure, especially if you own a smaller breed dog.

For more information, contact your vet, or follow the link below and watch as Dr Neil Burnie of Endsmeet Animal Hospital explains the dangers in more detail: http://www.bermudayp.com/video/show/310

You must be Registered or to post comment or to vote.

Published April 05, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated April 04, 2013 at 7:27 pm)

Protect your dog from toxic toads

What you
Need to
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon