The Colorado River Toad.

by Liz
(Tucson, AZ, USA)

In Honor of Ashton May 2004 - September 13, 2010

My beloved dog Ashton died at approximately 8:45pm on September 13, 2010. He was barely six years old, in perfect health, and weighed about 85 lbs. He was purported to be a Chow/Mastiff mix.

That Monday evening at about 7:00pm Ashton, Sparky (adopted brother) and I returned from our regular evening walk in the foothills. I remember Ashton impatiently waiting for me at the top of our long driveway to let him into the back yard where he would step into the pool to cool off.

I went inside the house, put away the leashes, poured a glass of wine and sat on the sofa to return a call to a friend. We talked for only about 20 minutes.

When I got off the phone I noticed Ashton was pacing the floor. He immediately attracted my attention because typically, after a walk he would lie on our cool slate floor.

Something was off. His breathing was slightly labored, his pupils dilated, his ears were back and his usually curled tail was down.

I instantly to put it together — the Colorado River Toad. I recognized the signs of the toad’s toxic poisoning from previous experience.

I quickly took Ashton outside and began to vigorously spray the inside, sides and roof of his mouth to dilute/remove the toad toxin.

I stopped and watched him for a minute.

His breathing came faster and more labored, he could not stop moving and his limbs were stiffening.

Again I hosed his mouth. His symptoms persisted. I called an emergency animal hospital, while on the phone I watched in horror as Ashton fell on the kitchen floor and began seizing.

Now I was terrified. I knew I had to get him to the
hospital immediately.

In the ensuing ten minutes while I waited for my dear friend to pick me up take us to the vet, Ashton seized again and again.

We put him in the car and drove fast, running several lights, to the nearest dog hospital.

I held him while we drove and could feel his heart beating rapidly, his breathing too fast and his body so stiff.

As we pulled up to the emergency entrance the med techs ran out to help us and as the back door of the SUV opened I saw, heard and felt my big guy take his last breath — he died in my arms. I knew we were too late. Despite their best efforts to resuscitate him, Ashton was dead.

Ashton died within 30-45 minutes of licking the toad. He did not bite the toad so did not ingest the toxin.

The toxin worked its way into Ashton’s system through the mucous membranes in his mouth and tongue.

Ashton was a healthy, six year old, 85-pound dog. He did not go unattended for more than a few minutes after he licked the toad, yet despite his size, health and our quick attention, my gentle big guy died.

I have never lost a dog so young.

All of our previous dogs have died or been euthanized as a result of problems associated with old age even our dogs poisoned by the The Colorado River Toad Carries A Ferocious Toxin.

This time spraying water into Ashton's mouth repeatedly was not enough.

My advice is to act quickly. I lost my best friend and loving, loyal companion because I did not act fast enough. His death was not peaceful. It was horrific.

I will never forget Ashton. He was one of God's greatest gifts to me.


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