Sudden Loss of Ashton
(Tucson, AZ, USA)
Monday evening after walking my dogs I called a friend. We talked for about 20 minutes. When I got off phone, I noticed my Chow/Mastiff mix acting peculiar.
His ears were tucked back, his tail was uncurled and down, and his breathing was fast.
I looked closely at his face and saw his dilated pupils. I recognized the signs of the Colorado River Toad toxin poisoning his body.
I took him outside and washed his mouth out with a hose several times. Then I watched him.
We have successfully saved several of our dogs from the deadly toxin released by these toads, but failed with Ashton.
In the ensuing ten minutes Ashton began to seize, recovered then seized again and again. We put him in the car and drove fast running several red lights to the nearest dog hospital.
As we pulled in, the med techs ran out to help us and as the back door of the SUV opened I heard and saw my big guy take his last breath while I held him in my arms.
I knew we were too late. Despite their best efforts to resuscitate him, Ashton died. He was dead a 1/2 hour after I first noticed his behavior.
Ashton was a healthy, six year old, 85 pound dog.
He did not eat or bite the toad. The toad was alive and well. So his exposure to the toxin was through his salivary glands only.
He did not go unattended for more than a few minutes yet despite his size, health and our quick attention, my gentle giant died. The seizures caused by the toxin killed him.
I have never lost a dog so young. Most of our dogs have died from problems associated with old age.
We have managed to rescue our dogs from rattle snake bites, battery acid accidentally consumed by our retriever while garbage diving and even from the Colorado River Toad before.
This time, washing out Ashton's mouth repeatedly with a strong jet of water was not enough. So my advice is act quickly.
I lost my best friend and loving companion because I did not react fast enough and his death was not peaceful. It was horrific. I will never forgive myself.
Overcome with sadness and loss, Liz