Bufo toad blamed in death of family dog after pet comes in contact with toxins

TAMPA, Fla. - Kim Brown can't believe their family dog, Kira, is dead. The 6-year old terrier was let out into their fenced-in backyard just after sunset Saturday night. Within minutes, the dog came into contact with a toxic bufo toad.

"I had actually never heard of a bufo toad. I certainly had no idea they were in my yard," Brown said.

The bufo toad has two glands that secrete toxins as a defensive measure. The affects on Kira were almost immediate as they rushed her to the vet.

"Her seizures were so bad her whole body was stiff. Her jaws were clenched tight, she was foaming at the mouth, her pupils were dilated. She was obviously in a lot of pain," she said.

Doctors at BluePearl Veterinary Hospital placed Kira in their ICU, but she died Monday morning.

"It doesn't take much of this toxin to cause the arrhythmia and seizure activity," said Dr. Lee Burstiner of BluePearl.

The bufo toad is most active from dusk to dawn and our recent rains have brought them out earlier than usual; the summer months are their peak season.

"We're seeing more and more of these out in our environment; so it's time to be vigilant of this. If you've seen these toads in the yard, you should walk your dog on a leash," Burstiner said.

If your pet licks or picks up a bufo toad in their mouth, getting to a vet quickly is key; but there is one thing you can do immediately.

"Rinse the mouth out significantly so that they decrease the amount of toxin and contact time of that toxin in the mouth," Burstiner said.

Brown wants to warn other pet owners about the dangers of bufo toads.

"These could be in your backyard and I think everyone should know what to do if someone's dog does encounter a toad," she said.

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