By Nicole Hallett
A BRITISH family found out the hard way that toads in Spain are very poisonous to animals if they mouth them.
Tony Samson, originally from Milton Keynes, has lived in Spain 12 years, of which five are on the mainland with his wife Carolyn, and had never heard of this danger.
This changed when their eight-year-old Jack Russell, Vino recently came into contact with a toad in the garden of their home in Valtocado.
“We found him outside in the garden by a toad,” said Tony.
About 10 minutes later Vino vomited and five minutes later went into convulsions.
“Frightened and sick with worry,” Tony “gently picked his limp body up and took him to the bath and washed out his mouth. As he lay there, he shook violently and his lovely brown eyes had gone so dark and lifeless.”
Over and over again Tony reassured him in a loud voice “come on Vino, come on Vino, daddy’s here!”
They took Vino to an emergency vet in Coin at around midnight where he was treated with something to stop the convulsions and administered an anesthetic.
“Veronica, the vet told us to prepare ourselves for the worst as this poison from toads is nearly always fatal, especially in small dogs. After 20 minutes she asked if I wanted to put him down to put him out of his agony, but I said no, that Vino is strong and we cannot take away his right to fight this,” said Tony.
They left Vino under the watchful eye of the vet who managed to stabilize him around 2.30am and by morning he was doing better, although weak.
“She did a marvelous job and warned us Vino could show signs of strange behavior, as the toxins can damage the brain,” said Tony.
Toads are nocturnal animals that come out from April through September.
Anybody who suspects their pet has mouthed a toad should take them immediately to a vet.
This incident has prompted Tony, who has worked as a marine engineer in the past, to design a special muzzle.
“Not one to stop a dog biting, but one to stop a dog eating, yet comfortable to go for walks with,” said Tony.
“By nature dogs are hunters and scavengers, even though they are fed at home. A muzzle that stops this will protect them from potential killers including toads and procession caterpillars, among others.”
Tony is also an active fundraiser for Animals In Distress and as a financial consultant through Spectrum-IFA Group gives a percentage earned from each job to A.I.D.