Pet owners beware! Recent rain brings out deadly toads

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By Marta Boroń (Ropucha szara – Bufo bufo – Common toad) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Recent rain over the last few weeks are bring out more cane toads around Southwest Florida.

Cane toads, also known as the bufo toad, are highly dangerous, especially to dogs.

“I have seen one down by the creek in the back there,” said dog owner Carole Hunter.

Veterinary Dr. Bonnie Tucker of Kindness Animal Hospital in Cape Coral said, “Usually the first sign you start to see is that the dog starts to drool and starts to lip smack,” adding that the effects on your pet depends on how much toxin they come in contact with.

“In a lot of cases, the big dogs actually eat the toad or bite into the toad. Those dogs are getting a lot of toxin at one time and within a matter of seconds to minutes those dogs are going to start to have a seizure,” Dr. Tucker said.

Dog owners like Phillip Morris are now on the lookout, “I think that if people walk down these pathways, they should be aware of it.

When a toad feels threatened by another animal, it will secrete a hazardous toxin from glands behind its head and eyes, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Depending on the amount of toxin that was released, it can cause serious illness or become deadly for pets.

Giant toads are most active at night when temperatures are low and humidity is high. That’s when pet and toad interactions are more likely to happen, according to the FWC.

If pet owners suspect their cat or dog was poisoned by a toad, they shouldtake the following steps:

Get a hose and run water inside the pet’s mouth and point their head downward so that the water isn’t swallowed.
Rub the pet’s gums and mouth to remove toxins.
Call a veterinarian as soon as possible.

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