Why this summer?

These ugly little creatures that hop around the back garden at night may not be interesting to humans. They are very interesting to our dogs and this summer there are more than ever.  The unusually wet  summer we are having has meant the conditions have been perfect  breeding.  We can expect a population explosion in our suburban gardens.  This is bad news for our inquisitive canine friends because toads are poisonous and possibly fatal.  Toads have two glands high on thier backs. The glands are defensive weapons.  When mouthed or bitten the toad will squirt poison into the mouth of the dog or attacker.

How does it kill my dog?

The poison is irritant and causes a burning sensation of tongue and gums.   This will cause extensive salivation and frothing at the mouth.

If the dog gets a lot of poison then other signs can quickly develop such as muscle weakness, collapse, seizures and finally death as the toad poison affects the heart muscle.   More than 1 toxin is involved, which can mean complex initial symptoms.

What do I do if my dog is unlucky enough to be affected by a toad?

The priority is washing out the dog’s mouth using running water from the hose or tap.  A good rinsing for 5 minutes will, in 90% of cases, relieve all signs and nothing else will be necessary.  You must ensure no water goes down the back of your dog’s throat while washing the gums.   If you are at all unsure if you have washed the dog enough, wash for another minute or two and then seek further advice from us.

The dog should however be closely observed for the next hour and if the frothing continues or if other signs develop then you should contact us immediately.

Author ascotvet

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