Springer Spaniel Buddy rushed to emergency vets for toad poisoning

Playful Buddy thought his luck was in when he chanced upon a lively toad in the garden — but he got the shock of his life when he picked it up.

Within minutes the Springer Spaniel was foaming at the mouth due to a venom toads give out through their skin when they’re under attack.

Buddy’s eyes then glazed over and he lay down looking decidedly unwell.

Worried owner Ann Billington washed his mouth out before rushing him to Vets Now in Preston, where emergency vets helped him recover from the ordeal.

Image of spaniel Buddy for Vets Now article on are toads poisonous to dogs uk
Buddy had a narrow escape after trying to chew on a toad

Ann, who lives in Chorley, said: “I saw Buddy pick something up and then shake his head, and then this thing flew out of his mouth. I could see it was a toad.

“He was foaming at the mouth and looking pretty desperate. He didn’t know what to do with himself, so I tried to rinse his mouth out with some water. But he still seemed to be throwing his head about and really not looking very well, so I realised I needed to call the vet.”

As it was 11 pm, Ann went to the Vets Now pet emergency clinic in Preston which provides emergency care for pets at nights and on weekends.

“They were very good with him there and rinsed his mouth out properly and observed him for a little while and thank goodness he was alright,” said Ann.

“Buddy is two-years-old, and we do a lot of walking together — he keeps me fit. But he’s always getting into mischief and picking things up. I’ve seen the toad in the garden again, but managed to keep Buddy away.”

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Peter Dillon, the emergency vet who treated Buddy, said toads have glands that secrete venom when they’re feeling threatened.

He added: “Toad venom poisoning can be fatal if left untreated and signs can appear within minutes. The toxins can cause dogs to foam at the mouth, vomit and show signs of distress such as pawing at the mouth and eyes.

“Dog owners who suspect their pet has licked or eaten a toad should contact their vet straight away or, out of hours, their nearest Vets Now pet emergency clinic or 24/7 hospital.

“We’re pleased Buddy has recovered from his encounter with a toad.”

The Vets Now clinic in Preston — where Buddy received treatment — was recently rated as “outstanding” in the delivery of emergency and critical care by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.

It’s one of 55 Vets Now clinics and pet emergency hospitals across the UK that are open through the night, seven-days-a-week, and day and night on weekends and bank holidays, to treat any pet emergencies that may occur.

All of Vets Now’s out-of-hours clinics and 24/7 hospitals have a vet and vet nurse on site at all times.

Image of a toad for Vets Now article on are toads poisonous to dogs uk
Toads secrete venom from their skin when they're feeling threatened

Treatment for toad poisoning in dogs

As there’s no antidote for toad venom, treatment typically involves trying to minimise absorption.

It’s likely the vet will flush out the mouth with large amounts of water. Medication may also be given to reduce the volume of saliva and to bring the dog’s heart rate to its normal rhythm.

Pets affected more severely may require more extensive therapy.