In south Florida, one of the most serious dangers to pets are Bufo toads. Many people have lost their pets because of these very dangerous toxins. During the summer, an lakewood animal hospital hospital may receive several frantic calls in an evening about Bufo toad poisoning.
What is a Bufo Toad?
Bufo Marinus is a BIG toad, as long as 9.5". In 1935, the toads were introduced to the sugar cane fields to help keep rodents under control. Unfortunately, the toads spread and now breed year round in standing water. These toads can live as long as 15 years and will eat almost anything.
There is no legal penalty for killing a Bufo toad since this is not a native Florida species.
The Bufo Toads Poison Acts Very Quickly
Bufo toads secrete a very toxic, milky substance from glands on the side of its head. This toxin will burn eyes, inflame the skin and can kill a dog or cat. The pet will show start to exhibit symptoms of poisoning almost immediately. CALL A VET.
Take These Precautions to Protect Your Pet
Do not leave your pets food or water bowls outdoors. If the toad sits in the water bowl for a while, enough toxin will be left in the water to poison your pet.
Before letting the pet into the yard, take a quick walk around to take a look for Bufos.
The toads are territorial. If you see a toad, it will probably come back.
Symptoms of Bufo Poisoning
The symptoms may be fairly mild or very severe, depending upon how much toxin the pet absorbed.
Drooling and excessive salivation is often the first sign.
Constant head shaking is common.
The pet may cry as the toxin is painful.
The pet, especially small animals, may be uncoordinated and stagger when trying to walk.
Severe poisoning can make it impossible for the pet to stand.
Convulsions may occur; rush the pet to an animal hospital.
Most Bufo poisonings happen at night.
The symptoms can also be exhibited if the pet was poisoned by something else. Try to figure out the source of the poisoning if possible. Was the pet outdoors shortly before the onset of symptoms?
First Aid for Bufo Poisoning
If you suspect that your pet has been poisoned by a Bufo toad:
Immediately flush out the pets mouth with water and continue for at least five minutes. Use a dripping wet washcloth, angling the pets head so that the water drains OUT of the pets mouth. BE VERY CAREFUL THAT THE PET DOES NOT SWALLOW THE RINSE WATER.
Immediately take the pet to an animal hospital.
There are no medications found in an average home that will help with Bufo poisoning.
The smaller the animal, the more severe the poisoning can be.
Pet owners who live in the Deerfield Beach area can call 954-428-9888 to contact the Animal Emergency Clinic of Deerfield Beach. They are open nights, weekends and holidays. The vets at AEC-D have treated many cases of Bufo toad poisoning.