Along with Arizona’s monsoon season comes the Sonoran Desert toad, a seemingly harmless toad that can grow up to 7.5 inches long with smooth, leathery skin. This olive green toad is far from harmless, however. In fact, it is killing more dogs than rattlesnakes.
The Sonoran Desert toad, also known as the Colorado River toad is highly toxic to dogs and cats. Neurotoxins containing 5-MeO-DMT and bufotenin seep from the toad’s pores and head, causing dogs and cats to foam at the mouth after licking the frog, suffer seizures, and experience high fever, dilated pupils, and a rapid heartbeat. It can also lead to death if not treated immediately.
Symptoms usually appear within a few seconds of an encounter with the Sonoran Desert toad, and may include the following:
- Crying or other vocalization
- Pawing at the mouth and/or eyes
- Profuse drooling of saliva from the mouth
- Change in the color of membranes of the mouth – may be inflamed or pale
- Difficulty in breathing
- Unsteady movements
- High temperature
A pet owner’s quick response is a dog’s best chance at survival. If you suspect your dog or cat has come in contact with the Sonoran Desert toad and is suffering from toad toxicity, use a garden house to flush your pet’s mouth – as long as your pet is conscious – and try to get as much remnants of poison out as possible. Seek veterinary care immediately.