Monsoon brings desert dwellers to town, including toxic Colorado River Toads

TUCSON, Ariz. - When monsoon rolls around, with it comes a variety of desert dwellers that could end up hanging around people's property. Some of them are harmless, but others can pose a real danger to humans and pets, if they're not approached correctly.

One of the ones that pet owners should be highly aware of are Colorado River Toads. Dr. Julie Yeager, a veterinarian at the Sonoran Veterinary Center, explained these little critters can kill dogs.

"They release different cardiac toxins, neuro-toxins, can induce things from fatal arrhythmia to seizures and neurological signs, which can all be fatal," she said. "This is a true medical emergency."

First thing to do, if a pet comes into contact with one, rinse out it's mouth very thoroughly. If this is done improperly, it can actually infect the dog quicker, or even kill the dog.

"It's very, very important to direct the water from the back of the mouth forward," Yeager said. "Because if you aim back to the throat, there's a very good chance that you could drown your dog."

Yeager typically sees around five cases of this every monsoon.

"In the coming weeks is when we tend to see the most cases," she said. "Their timeframe is going to depend on how much they were exposed to the toxin."

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