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Pet owners advised to watch out for poisonous toads

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Posted: Sunday, June 7, 2020. 9:04 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: Now that the rainy season is upon us, pet owners, particularly those who own dogs, are advised to watch out for cane toads, an invasive species of toads that secrete a toxic substance that can be fatal to animals.

These toads are nocturnal and are commonly found near water sources. They are differentiated from frogs by the two large oval-shaped glands behind their eyes which are the sources of the toxin.

Our newsroom spoke with the Cayo Animal Welfare Society (CAWS) earlier today and learned that during the day, cane toads will hide under leaf litter, rubble, or junk left in the yard.

If dogs were to pick up these toads and ingest the toxin, the initial irritation caused by the contact would usually prompt the dog to let the toad go.

Dogs that have come in contact with the toxin of a cane toad are usually seen foaming at the mouth, suffering from hallucinations, neurological and respiratory symptoms.

“Dog owners need to be vigilant. As the toads are mainly nocturnal; that is the time of day you will generally see them. They are quite large and fast, and in my personal opinion, they move a little differently from a frog. They can fit through surprisingly small holes like chainlink. You may also find them in your dogs’ water bowls and buckets,” explained Shauna Morelli of CAWS.

For those wanting to protect their dogs by eliminating the threats, Morelli recommended that they search their yards after dark for cane toads and either relocate them or humanely dispatch then bury or burn the dead toad.

“If you have bodies of water on your property search for the eggs. Cane toads lay their eggs not in clusters but in long strings that are several feet long. Pull the strings from the water and the eggs dry up, then dispose of them,” Morelli added.

Those whose dogs are showing signs of coming in contact with a cane toad are advised to take the animal to a veterinarian as quickly as possible.

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