The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Florida Residents: Beware! The Recent Rains in Southwest Florida Are Bringing Out Toxic Bufo Toads That Put Your Dog as Risk

Friday, May 8, 2015

Florida Residents: Beware! The Recent Rains in Southwest Florida Are Bringing Out Toxic Bufo Toads That Put Your Dog as Risk

Florida residents: beware! The recent rains in southwest Florida are bringing out the toxic Bufo toads. Also known as Cane Toads, Giant Toads, and Marine Toads, the populations of these invasive amphibians are growing and putting your pets at risk.

Dogs are especially susceptible to Bufo toads because the toad’s mating call attracts curious dogs.

Bufo toads secrete a milky white toxic substance from their shoulders as a defense mechanism, and a single lick can be very dangerous. If untreated, pets will always die.
Some of the symptoms of Bufo toad poisoning includes seizures, profuse salivation, and lack of coordination. If you suspect your pet mouthed, licked or ingested a toad, rinse the mouth out immediately and get your pet to its veterinarian right away.

To help protect your pet, it’s recommended you collect water and food dishes that remain outside. These toads are so fatal that dogs can be poisoned by drinking or eating out of containers the toads have sat in.

The toads, which have grayish brown, warty skin, are not native to Florida, but were introduced to eat cane beetles. They became established in Florida in an accidental release of about 100 specimens in Miami in 1955 and further release by pet dealers in the 1960s, according to the University of Florida Wildlife Extension.

If pet owners suspect an animal has bitten a Bufo toad, rinse its mouth and paws with water and seek veterinary help immediately. Use caution, however, so the pet does not aspirate the water with toxins, Gicking said.

Pet owners should also be careful about being bitten by animals who become unruly while intoxicated by the toxin, he said. Pet owners should wash their own hands after rendering aid and be careful not to get the toxin in their own eyes or mouth.

Gicking suggests vigilance is the best course of action to prevent toad poisoning.

“Don't just leave dogs out in the yard unsupervised, especially people who live near water sources,” he said. “Leash walks during a high incident times are best.

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