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What do I do if my pet comes into contact with a Cane Toad?

If you suspect that your pet has been poisoned by a toad, get a hose and run water in the side of the dog's (or cat's) mouth, pointing the animal's head downward so that the water isn't swallowed.Next, rub the gums and mouth to aid in removing the bufotoxin, and call your veterinarian immediately.

How can I tell if I've caught a marine toad or a different kind of toad?

It is important to properly identify a Marine Toad, as they are easily confused with a Florida native toad: the Southern toad. The southern toad is harmless to pets. It is easiest to tell the difference when dealing with adult toads. Southern toads do not exceed 3.6 inches, so if a toad is larger than four inches it is most likely a Marine toad. However, marine toads will be smaller than four inches before they have reached their adult stage, and so it is not safe to assume that smaller toads are not toxic. Small marine toads will not be as toxic as the full adults, however they can still pose a threat to pets and wildlife.
To differentiate between marine toads and southern toads, examine the parotoid glands: Marine toads will have very large glands that angle down towards the shoulders. On the other hand, the southern toad will have smaller & kidney bean shaped glands. Furthermore, the southern toad can be identified by small ridges and knobs between the eyes, on the top of the head - the Marine toad lacks these ridges and knobs.

What are the symptoms of Marine Toad poisoning?

Symptoms of Marine Toad poisoning include drooling, head-shaking, crying, loss of coordination, and, in more serious cases, convulsions. The dog's gums often turn red, an indicator veterinarians use to distinguish toad-poisoning from epilepsy. For this reason, dog owners should be familiar with normal gum color.

What can I expect to happen if I take my pet to the veterinarian after it comes into contact with a Cane Toad?

If your dog is taken to the vet, an electrocardiogram may be conducted to determine whether your pet has an abnormal heart rhythm, as this is an effect of the toxin.
There currently is no way to find the presence of the toxin. Diagnosis is usually based on whether the pet was seen eating a toad, or if toad parts are in the gastrointestinal tract. Your veterinarian may give your pet cardiac drugs such as propranolol to combat abnormal heart rhythms. Anxious, frightened or painful pets may need sedatives. Pet's with a high fever may benefit from a cool bath. A hospital stay with intravenous fluids is very likely, with your pet’s heart monitored by an electrocardiograph.

Are Cane toads, Marine toads, and Bufo toads the same thing?

Yes. All of the above are names for the same toxic toad, Bufo marinus. Other names of this toad include: Giant toad, Giant marine toad, South American cane toad & Dominican toad.

What do I do if I capture a Bufo toad?

Bufo toads are an invasive pest species within the state of Florida. If you trap one, it is advised by florida biologists that you humanely euthanize the animal - as long as you are sure it is infact a Cane toad (they are often confused with the Florida native Southern toad).

Once captured you can place the toad in a plastic bag or box, and freeze it for approximately three days. After three days, it is advised that you bury the carcass.

 

How can I help prevent Bufo toads from interacting with my pet?

There are several ways you can try to prevent bufo toads from entering your yard & interacting with your pets:

First of all, do not leave pet food or water outside over night. The toads will eat the pet food, and have been known to sit in pet water dishes. This creates an extra threat, as the toxin from the toads skin can seep into the water and harm your pet if they drink it.

You can reduce your outdoor lighting to a lower wattage, so as to not attract as many bugs. Toads are attracted to areas with many insects, as they are the toad's primary food source.

If you walk your dog after dark, bring along a flash light and keep your dog on a tight leash. Do not leave your animal unattended or unsupervised after dark in order to best prevent bufotoxin poisoning.

Are there any other species of Florida frogs or toads that could be dangerous to my pets?

The Bufo marinus toad is the only species of toad that is dangerous to pets in Florida. Other species of toads and frogs may cause a minor skin irritant in humans, however they are not toxic.

Are Cane toads a protected species?

No. In the state of Florida, Cane toads are considered an invasive and pest species.

How did Marine toads get to Florida?

Marine toads are native to South America, and were introduced to Florida in 1955 to help control sugar cane pests. The current over-population is due to an accidental release by a pet dealer in Miami during the 1950s. The toads escaped and spread through canals to other areas. Pet dealers deliberately released the toad elsewhere in southeastern Florida in the early 1960s.

What is it about Bufo toads that makes them so dangerous to my pet?

The toad contains in its glands a milky-white substance known as "bufotoxin," which the toad uses as a defense against predators. This toxin (poison) can cause irritation in humans and animals, particularly when the toxin comes in contact with the eyes or mucus membranes. For small pets and wild animals, this toxin can be lethal.

 
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