Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Do Not Let Your Dog Kiss A Toad

Do you know the difference between a frog and a toad?

The word "frog" is a general term. Toad is more specific. All toads are frogs but not all frogs are toads. For example, the Colorado River toad is a frog, and the green tree frog is not a toad. If this is still a little confusing, think of this. Your cuddly kitten may have very little in common with the lion, the King of the African jungle, but they both belong to the "cat" family.

However, in addition to their name and position on a species chart, frogs and toads can be differentiated by other means.

Toads have a special organ that other frogs do not. The Bidder's organ is a vestigial ovary that is found in the male toad. Another difference is that toads do not have teeth. This is an uncommon finding in species referred to as frogs.

In addition to body differences, toads differ from other frogs in their movement and life style. Toads really cannot jump like other frogs. They typically hop or crawl. Also, toads prefer to live their lives on the ground instead of in the trees, as many other frogs do. Despite their desire to be on firm soil, toads are quite adapt at climbing.

The reason I bring this up is that the venom secreted through the skin of some toads is highly toxic to pets. Dogs, which are the most likely pet to come into contact with a toad, have a high probability of dying if untreated. The Colorado River toad and the giant toad (also called the marine toad) are the two most common venomous toads found in the United States.

The Colorado River toad can be found along large streams in the southwestern United States, from Arizona to southern California (and Mexico). Its brown/green skin is usually covered with warts. They grow to be about three to seven inches long. The giant toad is not as common, but can be found in south Texas and Florida. This brown toad grows to be four to six inches long. It is very toxic to pets.

Because dogs are more curious and extroverted, they tend to be treated for toad poisoning more often. But a dog does not necessarily have to lick or eat a toad to be poisoned. There have been cases where frogs have been attracted to a dog's water dish and sat along the rim. Enough toxin can be left to make a dog sick.

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