Tucson monsoon brings pet danger in form of toxic toad

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- Floods, power outages, damaged property all the things that come with the monsoon.

But if you're a pet owner, there's another danger lurking during the rainy season.

This amphibian is behind a spike in patients at local vet clinics. The Colorado River Toad comes emerges from underground in big numbers when monsoon rains come down.

"They have glands near their eyes that secrete toxins and when an animal licks or bites or chews on the toad, those toxins are released," said Heather Connally, DVM.

The result is sick dogs. 

A number of symptoms can occur within 30 minutes of your pet's contact with the toad.

"They'll often times act very agitated, they may be pawing at their face, their gums are usually like a brick red, they're panting," said Connally.

Some dogs will even die.

"We took them out in the area where the frogs are because they come out in the evening," said dog owner Susan Dayhoff.

Susan Dayhoff says her dog 8-year-old abbey knows better than to eat a Colorado River Toad.

She says she finds a lot of the critters at her home in Catalina.

"We would walk them within the area where the frogs were and we just say no frogs, you can kind of see them looking out the side of their eyes at them but they try not to bite they stay away from them," said Dayhoff.

"The best way to avoid these guys is to not let your dog out unattended, which is hard if you have a back yard and you just want the dog out to go potty," said Connally.

Supervision is key, but if your dog's curious nature gets the best of him, you must take quick action.

"We'll oftentimes recommend at home that they try rinsing out the mouth just to try and reduce any further absorption of that toxin," said Connally.

Even after rinsing your pet's mouth, you're encouraged to bring it into a clinic as soon as possible for treatment.