One night, one of our dogs, the beagle, was howling and barking erratically like we never heard before. It was more like a cry of help rather than the usual barking at something randomly passing by. We disregarded it at first thinking maybe it was nothing, but as it went more than 5minutes, we rushed out to see what it was. What we saw will shock us more than we expected. We saw the beagle beside our Sharpei, looking worried and licking the other dog’s face. As I came closer I saw our Sharpei having what seems to be a seizure – like he was having a nightmare struggling on the floor and having all these secretions coming out of his mouth.He looked like he was bathing in secretions. He had this gurgling sound and struggling to breath. He was shaking like he was fighting something. I did not know what to do. We called the Veterinary hospital while my aunt placed a towel over him and we carried him to the car and drove off quickly. Upon arriving, the doctors asked the basic questions while the other medical team were putting an IV on him and performing a lavage and gavage. We still do not know what’s going on but the doctor was guessing he ate something or bit something. He asked us to call home and ask someone to look around the area where we found him and see if there was anything there. My cousin who was at home found a big dead frog in the doghouse. I relayed to the doctor, and the doctor requested that if possible it would be sent to the hospital immediately. It was confirmed in the hospital that the thing that our dog bit was a Giant Toad or Cane Toad. It was highly toxic and at that time there wasn’t any cure for it. All they could do was to treat the symptoms. Survival was unlikely and the whole family was just crying and hoping he would make it. Our Sharpei was a big and strong boy and miraculously he made it. He was released after 3 days and it took him a week to be back with his old self. The team that saved him were amazing and we couldn’t have thanked them enough. We were lucky for the beagle who warned us of what was happening also, otherwise our Sharpei wouldn’t have made it.
Signs of toad poisoning
- Convulsions or Seizures
- Drooling/ frothing of the mouth
- Disorientation (” not himself”)
- Muscle rigidity or spasm
- Rapid heart rate and difficulty of breathing
- Unresponsiveness, Death
First Aid for First responders
- One person calls the hospital and another positions the head down towards the floor so pet will not aspirate on his own secretions
- Wipe and wash off mouth to remove any residue of the poison. Avoid water going down the throat.
- With a rolled washcloth if available, wipe off the gums and teeth while awaiting transportation.
- Wrap the pet with a towel so you can pick him up easily.
- Bring pet as soon as you can to the veterinary hospital. This is an emergency and can lead to death.
Cane toads are common in warm places. It is native to South Texas and numerous in Florida, Australia and other places in the world. It was introduced to different parts of the world who needed something to eradicate pests in sugarcane fields.The doctor was surprised that we had one in our backyard since our city was very cool and there were no cane fields nearby. We suspected a neighbor had it as a pet or something. A lesson is to keep vigilant of our pets outdoors because, like our case, things can happen anywhere.