Toxic Toad Kills Temple Terrace Dog
The City of Temple Terrace is encouraging pet owners to be aware of deadly Bufo marinus toads.
From the City of Temple Terrace:
Deborah Barrett’s dog, Willie, was playing in Barrett’s back yard last week when he encountered something deadly.
The Jack Russell terrier found a Bufo marinus toad and bit into it.
“It was as big as a salad plate,” said Barrett, who lives on the Hillsborough River. “My dog killed it, and when he came inside, within five minutes he went into convulsions.”
Barrett said she sought medical help immediately, but Willie died in the car on the way to a local animal hospital.
“He died within a half hour,” she said.
Now, the City of Temple Terrace is cautioning pet owners to watch out for the Bufo marinus toads, an invasive species that has taken hold in Florida. The large grayish-brown toads secrete a powerful toxin from their glands. That toxin is highly poisonous to dogs, cats and other animals that bite or eat them.
Small dogs are the most at risk, but even larger dogs can suffer severe medical problems, said Dr. Paul Langston, of the Temple Terrace Animal & Bird Hospital.
“Once they start having seizures, if you don’t address it quickly, it can cause massive brain damage,” he said. “If you can get them (to the vet) quickly, they’ll usually be OK.”
If you suspect your pet has bitten a Bufo toad, rinse its mouth and paws with water and seek veterinary help immediately.
The Bufo marinus secretions can be toxic to people, too. People should avoid handling them, experts say, and children should be told not to pick them up. If you do handle one of the toads, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth and wash your hands thoroughly.
Dr. Ken Jukoff, of Connechusett Animal Hospital, said the most humane way to kill a Bufo toad is to place it in a plastic bag, and then put it in the freezer for three days. Discard it afterward.
The toads have exhibited increased activity throughout the area recently because of heavy rains. Jukoff said he has seen them in his parking lot.
“Especially when it’s raining, you’ll see them come out,” he said.
Barrett said everyone should be aware of the danger associated with the species.
“These toads are all over the place,” she said.