Toad and salamander venom
All toads secrete mucus through the skin that does not taste good to other animals. Some toads, however, are actually poisonous. These include the tropical toads Bufo alvarius (Colorado River Toad) found in the Southwest desert and Bufo marinus found in Florida and Hawaii. Some other species of Bufotoads in other areas of the U.S. produce a milder venom. There is one species of poisonous salamander, the California Newt, which is found in California.
The toxin is produced by glands in the skin of these toads. The toxic agent is similar to the heart medication digoxin. Exposure is usually through oral exposure (the cat or dog mouthing the toad), but the toxin may also be absorbed through wounds or broken skin. There have been reports of toxicities from toads sitting in the pet's water dish.
Oral exposure to Bufo marinus can be fatal. The deadly effects can be seen within 15 minutes.
The venom is locally irritating causing head shaking, drooling, vocalizations, pawing at the mouth, retching, or vomiting. The mucus membranes may become red. In severe cases, heart rhythm disorders occur which may cause apparent blindness, seizures, collapse, and death.
Very carefully wash mouth with large amounts of water such as from a slow moving stream of water from a hose. Seek veterinary attention.
General treatment: The animal's oral cavity and other exposed areas will be flushed with large amounts of water. Ideally, this is performed under anesthesia so the entire mouth and throat are rinsed. Activated charcoal may be administered.
Supportive treatment: The animal will be monitored with an EKG and treated for heart rhythm abnormalities with a drug such as propranolol. IV fluids will be administered to maintain hydration, and any seizures. Atropine may be given to help control the drooling if no heart abnormalities are present. Sedation may be necessary.
Specific treatment: Unavailable
Good, with treatment; exposure to Bufo marinus can be fatal.