Did you know that the Bufo Toad (also known as the Bufo Marinus) is extremely poisonous to dogs and cats?
The Bufo Toad is an invasive species that has made its way across South Florida. Posing little to no threat to humans, Bufo Toads pose great threat to our beloved pets. Bufo Toads are amphibians with a diet consisting of both plants and other animals. Their lifespan stands at about 5 to 10 years in the wild.
How to Identify a Bufo Toad from Other Amphibians
- The Bufo Toad is a brown to grayish-brown toad with black or white spots on its back.
- In general, toads have a more dry, bumpy appearance to their skin than frogs. They also have shorter broader legs than frogs. Frogs use their longer limbs to jump, while toads are more likely to crawl.
- Adult toads generally range in size from 6 to 9 inches, but may be even larger.
- Bufo Toads eat a lot: their diet consists of native frogs, lizards, snakes and even small mammals. They essentially eat anything that fits in their mouths!
- They have large triangular poison glands on their head that secrete a milky poison.
What Causes Bufo Toad Poisoning?
When a Bufo Toad is confronted by a predator, the toad is able to secrete a toxin from the glands on the back of the head (called the parotid glands) in the form of a milky, whitish fluid. The secretions are highly toxic to dogs, cats, and other animals and can also cause skin irritation in humans.
Once the pet comes into contact with those toxic substances, they are immediately absorbed through the mouth, eyes, open wounds or gastrointestinal tract. Upon entering the bloodstream, the toxins target the heart, blood vessels, and the nervous system which can result in rapid effects.
What Are the Symptoms of Bufo Toad Poisoning?
The signs of toad toxicity usually occur within minutes after exposure. Symptoms of Bufo Toad poisoning in pets include:
- Excessive drooling or foaming at the mouth
- Loss of coordination
- Red or irritated gums
- Vomiting and/or Diarrhea
What Can You Do If You Find a Toad in Your Backyard?
If you happen to find a Bufo Toad in your backyard, do not pick it up yourself! Keep your pet inside until you have contacted The Toad Busters. The Toad Busters will come to your location/home if you live in Southeast or Southwest Florida. They will safely and humanely collect and remove cane toads from your property. Their work is completed 100% by hand with no pesticides or chemicals used. Learn more about their services here (https://www.bufobusters.com/)
What Can You Do If Your Pet Has Been Exposed to Bufo Toads?
- First, take a wet rag and make sure to wipe out the inside of your pet’s mouth. Wipe down the tongue, gums and the inside and outside of your pet’s lips. Toad poison can be very thick and sticky, so you want to be thorough.
- Next, try using a garden hose or sink to rinse your dog’s mouth for about 10 minutes until you feel it is clean. Make sure your dog’s head is pointing down so the water runs out of their mouth and does not choke them. Be careful to not force the hose in the mouth, as this can lead to aspiration pneumonia.
- After you have done that, immediately go to your local Veterinarian!
You can always contact West Delray Veterinary during our business hours at 561-777-7173. But, in an emergency case like this, don’t waste any time. Hop in your car and drive right over to us or your nearest Veterinarian.