How to Save a Dog Poisoned by the Bufo Marinus Frog (Cane Toad)
The Bufo Marinus Doesn't Look Like a Killer, Does He?
Well, looks can be deceiving. We have a frog here in South Florida that is a killer! The Bufo marinus, also known as the cane toad, kills dogs and cats. This species of frog can be found all over the world except in extremely cold climates.
The Bufo has glands behind its eyes that secrete a fatty, white substance that acts as a deterrent to predators. The toxin is also on the frog’s skin. This substance is toxic to animals that come into contact with it. A dog can lick the frog and ingest enough toxin to become very sick or die. Small breeds of dogs are more easily affected because it does not take as much poison to kill them as it would for a large breed.
Symptoms of Bufo Marinus Frog Poisoning
Unfortunately, there is no antidote for Bufo toxin. Depending on how much toxin your dog has ingested and the size of your dog, the poison can lead to cardiac arrest. Foam may be seen coming from the dog’s mouth, similar to that of rabies' symptoms. Your pet's temperature will quickly rise and the dog may begin to have seizures.
To know whether your dog has been poisoned, check the color of their gums; they should be pink. If your pet has been exposed to the Bufo's poison, their gums will turn very red. If you suspect your dog has come into contact with a Bufo frog, administer first aid right away!
Administer First Aid Immediately If Your Dog Comes Into Contact With a Bufo Frog
- Grab a garden hose. Wash out the dog’s mouth and eyes immediately because toxin is quickly absorbed into the mucus membrane of the mouth. The frog's secretion is also very sticky, so you may have to use a cloth to rub the inside of the dog’s mouth. Also remember that when you put your hand inside a dog’s mouth, you could get bitten. But this is necessary to save your pet’s life.
- Get your pet to a veterinarian immediately. Most towns have an emergency clinic that is open at night. Call ahead, if possible.
- If there is a family member who can help you, have that person drive while you take care of your dog in the back seat. You may have to do CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) on your pet if it goes into cardiac arrest. If you don't already know how to perform CPR on your pet, I'd suggest you learn how. Ask your vet to show you how to do it.
How to Identify the Bufo Marinus
As a responsible pet owner, you should be able to identify the Bufo frog so that you can prevent it from killing your pets.
- They are big and ugly with pudgy bodies and short legs. I have seen frogs as big as a dinner plate. The younger ones may not be as big, but they are just as dangerous.
- They are usually brown and with warts on their skin. Some have a greyish color.
- They live near water, in places such as ponds or canals. Your backyard pool can attract them, too. Kiddy pools with standing water also will attract them.
- They have puffy pockets called paratoid glands that are located behind their eyes. They use these glands to squirt poison.
- They love pet food, so don’t ever leave out containers with dog food in the yard or porch.
- They are usually common after dark. That is why I had never let my dogs outside after sunset, unless I am right there to watch out for them.
Methods to Get Rid of the Bufo Frog
Here a few methods people use to get rid of these poisonous creatures.
- I have a friend who is so terrified of Bufo frogs in her yard that she has come up with a plan to capture the them. She digs a hole in the ground large enough to hold a five-gallon plastic bucket. The bucket is placed in the hole at ground level and filled with water. If the Bufo falls into the bucket, it can’t get out. I don't know if she has ever captured one, and if she has, I don't know where she released them. It sounds like a lot of work to me!
- Another friend puts moth balls all around the perimeter of the yard. She says that it keeps out not only Bufos but snakes as well.
- Some people kill the them by pouring bleach or ammonia all over them.
- Some folks shoot them.
- Some people stab them with a sharp knife.
I don’t like the idea of killing or injuring anything except snakes that I know are poisonous. My method of protecting my dog seems to be working for me. I don't try to harm or kill the Bufo. My motto is: You leave my dogs alone, and I'll leave you alone!
The Bufo Frog Killed My Friend's Little Dog
I have a friend who had two miniature Schnauzers. Our dogs often played together. My dog, Baby, is the same breed, and the three dogs loved each other very much.
One evening, after dark, my friend let her two dogs out into her fenced-in yard to go to the bathroom before going to bed for the night. She did not go with them. When she opened the door to call them to come in, only one dog came. She went outside to find the other dog and saw her walking as though she were drunk. My friend then noticed that her dog had frothy, foaming saliva running from her mouth. She scooped the dog up into her arms and headed for her car. By the time she got her little dog to the emergency veterinarian clinic, it was too late.
If my friend had known what to do when she first saw her dog in distress, the dog's life might have been saved. I talked to my veterinarian about this, and he gave me some advice. First, never let your dogs out alone after dark. Secondly, administer first aid. It wasn't long after this happened to my friend, that Baby had her first encounter with a Bufo frog.
I Thought My Dog Was Safe From the Bufo Frog
After the incident with my friend's dog, I was very careful with my pets. Initially, I thought they were perfectly safe. We don't have water near our home, I have a nice chain-link fence around my yard, and I never leave any pet food out at night. I also never let them go out alone at night. We should be OK, right? Wrong!
About two weeks after my friend lost her dog, I took Baby out for her last pee before bed. She immediately ran up to a Bufo that I couldn't see. I was sure she licked it. I immediately did what my vet had instructed me to do. I grabbed her up and ran for the garden hose. I began hosing her mouth and eyes out. Baby only weighs 14 pounds, and my friend's dog that died from the Bufo weighed 15 pounds.
I tried very hard not to panic. I screamed so loud my next door neighbor came out to see what was the matter. I told her I needed to get to the pet emergency clinic immediately! It is about three miles away from our house.
On the way to the clinic, Baby began to have seizures. I thought for sure she would die. I was crying and praying the whole time. The vet on duty took us right away. Baby spent the night at the clinic getting the proper treatment. The next day, Baby seemed fine but sort of "hung over." The vet praised me for adminstering first aid so quickly.
I Try to Make My Yard Safer
I thought that when I fenced in my front yard with chain-link fencing that I would be able to keep these horrible frogs away from my dogs, but I was wrong. The one that my dog licked got into our yard, and I still don’t know how. Since they are not good hoppers, he must have found a way underneath the fence.
So to be sure, I went all around the bottom of the fence with weather-treated six-inch boards that were left over from a garden project. I also bought a collapsible wire fence enclosure from the pet store. I have it in my backyard now, and before bedtime, I take Baby out and put her in that small fence enclosure so that I know she will be 100% safe from the killer Bufo frog.
Have you ever seen a Bufo frog?
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.
© 2012 Mary Hyatt