Toad poisoning in dogs is not rare, and because German Shepherds love spending their time outdoors, it is very possible for them to find one and even try to bite it.
Dogs are natural predators and being a dog breed with a high prey drive; some German Shepherds may instinctively catch these slimy creatures. The problem is: some species of toads are poisonous and could easily kill dogs – even the ones as big as German Shepherds.
Poisonous Toads That Can Kill Your German Shepherd
Toads may look harmless, but their bodies are equipped to protect themselves from predators. Generally, toads secrete mucus through their skin to make them taste repulsive to predators. Some toads are harmless; some can make your dog feel slightly itchy, but others secrete poisonous mucus that can kill dogs. The most common toads that poison dogs in the United States are the Bufo alvarius (Colorado River Toad), and the Bufo marinus (Marine or Cane Toad). The poisonous toads’ toxins contain an agent that is similar to a heart medication called dixogin. When a dog has been orally exposed to the Bufo marinus, that dog can easily die in as fast as 15 minutes. The toxins these poisonous toads secrete may also be absorbed through wounds or broken skin. Aside from that, the toads’ toxins can also be transferred in water so changing your German Shepherd’s water every now and then is a very good idea.
Symptoms of Toad Poisoning
If your German Shepherd has been poisoned by a toad orally or physically, he or she may some of the following signs:
- Excessive Shaking of Head,
- Mouth Pawing,
- Pinkish to Reddish Eyes and/or Mucus Membranes,
- And Being Excessively Vocal.
Dogs who experience severe toad poisoning may experience:
- Sudden blindness,
- Problems with heart rhythm,
- And almost instant death.
What Should You Do If Your German Shepherd Has Been Poisoned By a Toad
If you suspect your German Shepherd has been in contact with a poisonous toad, consider it an emergency. Hose your German Shepherd’s mouth with large amounts of water and take him or her to the veterinarian as fast as you can.
At the animal hospital, the attending veterinarian will check your German Shepherd’s mouth, oral cavity, and body parts that may have been in contact with the poisonous toad and its toxins. The vet will then rinse those areas with large amounts of water thoroughly. Sometimes, dogs may be put under anesthetic so that the entire mouth and throat will be cleaned thoroughly. Depending on the situation, activated charcoal may also be given to help get rid of the toxin.
Your German Shepherd may also be monitored using an ECG to keep track of the heart rhythm and make sure that there are no abnormalities in it. Your German Shepherd may also be given IV fluids to help keep him or her hydrated. Other medicines may be administered if your German Shepherd has seizures or has unstoppable drooling.