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Bufo Toad Toxicity (Envenomation) in Dogs

Overview of Bufo Toad Toxicity in Dogs

Toads of the genus Bufo, live in many parts of the world and, unbeknownst to many pet owners, can be toxic to dogs. The Bufus marinus toad species is especially common in southern Florida. Many thousands of dogs are exposed to these poisonous toads every year in places like this.

Although toads cannot sting or bite dogs, they can nonetheless evenomate them via their skin glands (parotid glands). These glands secrete a venom of variable toxicity, depending on the species of toad, which covers their body in a protective film.

Any breed of dog is susceptible to the effects of the Bufo toad toxin. Some dogs, however, are more likely to have a high drive to attack these animals. Dogs with high prey drives, especially breeds with a special interest in small animals (such as rats) may be more inclined to receive a higher dose of Bufo toxin. As such, terrier breeds may be more predisposed than others.

What to Watch For

Dogs typically present with signs that occur as a result of local irritation to the oral mucous membranes or systemic signs of gastrointestinal toxicity, neurotoxicity and cardiotoxicity.

Signs usually manifest within minutes of contact with the venom.

Diagnosis of Bufo Toad Toxicity in Dogs

Knowledge of contact with a Bufo toad is the typical means of diagnosis. But in many cases, the diagnosis can be made presumptively depending on the history (being out of doors at night during the wetter seasons of the year), geographic location, and the dog’s clinical signs.

Treatment of Bufo Toad Toxicity in Dogs

Veterinary Cost Associated with Bufo Toad Toxicity

The cost of Bufo toad envenomation depends to a large extent on the degree to which a dog is exposed and, consequently, to the dose of toxin he or she received. If was a simple lick or quick bite, resulting in minimal toxin absorption, dogs are likely to fare well – sometimes even without any veterinary intervention at all (though it’s strongly recommended all dogs be examined by a veterinarian after any Bufo toad toxin exposure).

Others, however, may require rapid emergency intervention and intensive care after long bouts of seizuring. Depending on the dose of toxin and length of time elapsed before treatment, dogs may require one or more days of intensive care. Each day of care can amount to $1,000 or more. This will vary depending on the geographic locale and level of care elected (general practice vs. specialty center).


Preventing exposure to the Bufo toad is the only sure means of preventing envenomation.

References for Bufo Toad Toxicity