Will my pet die from playing with cane toads?

Cane toad's can pose a significant threat to the health of your pet. Read on to discover what symptoms you may notice from cane toad toxicity and how to respond if you suspect your pet has been exposed to cane toad toxin.

Cane toads love wet weather and unfortunately many dogs and occasionally cats love attacking or at least being inquisitive enough with cane toads to become poisoned. The pet does not need to eat a cane toad to become poisoned. They may be exposed to the toxin through their gums, eyes or nostrils without actually eating the toad.

Symptoms initially start with excess salivation. Like they turned on a tap in their mouth. Sometimes they shake their lips and saliva flies everywhere. This usually happens within a minute or so of the toxin exposure. This happens regardless of where the toxin is absorbed from. The symptoms may become more serious such as vomiting, red gums, involuntary muscle tremors and twitching becoming cramps. The pet may go into full blown seizures and at the same time this is happening the pets heart will be doing the same thing as it's muscles. This is usually how to toxin kills pets; through heart failure or overheating as a result of involuntary muscle contraction.

All of this happens quite quickly and symptoms will escalate within minutes and is quite short acting. If a pet is going to die from toad toxin it usually happens within the first 40 minutes. If the pet has not progressed from the salvation symptoms to any muscle tremors within 15 minutes it is very unlikely the pet is going to suffer any worse symptoms of toad toxin. If your pet is showing the symptoms or you have seen the pet playing with a “frog” or toad we recommend wiping the mouth with a wet chux or hand washer. Or try hosing on very very low pressure. You are only trying to flush the mouth with water to reduce toxin absorption. Do not do this if the patient is having difficulty standing or losing consciousness because it may not be able to protect its airways.

If your pet progresses to the muscle twitching symptoms please call and then get to the nearest vet or emergency centre as soon as possible. Keep them as cool and calm as possible. Treatment includes sedation, medications to control arrhythmias and cooling if temperatures are elevated.

Unfortunately most pets don't learn any lessons from exposure and breeds known for their fearless hunting ability like Jack Russell's and terrier dogs are seen to be more prone to poisoning. Some pets even seem to become addicted to the opioid style toxin affects and may become addicted to the feeling of being poisoned.

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The Bloomin Vet  - Veterinary Clinic Greenbank