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Dogs - Toxicology - The Ugly And The Dangerous Cane Toad

The Ugly And The Dangerous Cane Toad

Australia has some of the world's most poisonous animals and one that poses a threat to our pets and our wildlife is the Cane Toad. Although we don't see them much in the winter months, already our clinics have been presented with pets that have been in contact with these dangerous creatures.

The giant tropical Cane Toad, was introduced to Australia to control the sugar cane beetle, but has become a major pest in tropical areas. The toads produce a toxin in glands around the neck area. This toxin is very potent and rapidly-acting.

Although, cat poisonings are rare, toad poisoning in dogs is very common especially in puppies and terrier breeds as they find the hopping of toads intriguing and often irresistible.

When a dog mouths a toad, a toxin is release and rapidly absorbed by the dog across the membranes of the mouth. Symptoms depend on the amount of toxin absorbed and the length of time from when the pet was exposed to the toxin. Initially the dog will drool or froth, then develop muscle tremors which progress to seizures and possibly cardiac arrest.

It is important for all pet owners to be aware of the most effective first aid measure if you suspect that your pet has been in contact with a toad.

 First Aid Measures:

  1. Hold your pets mouth down toward the floor and using paper towel wipe the inside of your pets mouth
  2. Thoroughly wash the mouth out for 10-15minutes using a slow trickling hose or tap, have water flowing from the side of the back teeth with the water draining out through the front of the mouth, avoid water going down the throat or into the lungs. (in the meantime, somebody else should contact the vet and advise them of the toad poisoning incident)
  3. Using a wet cloth, gently wipe the gums, tongue and roof of the mouth, rinse the cloth out after each wipe and do for 10 minutes
  4. If your pet settles down after wiping and rinsing the mouth out, keep them confined for a few hours and monitor them closely
  5. Transport to a vet immediately (if symptoms worsen)

In mild cases, these first aid measures is all that will be necessary, but you should watch your pet carefully for a few hours after contact with the toad. If there is any worsening of symptoms, for example, shivers and/or tremors or muscle stiffness you should seek veterinary help immediately.

 

 


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