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Monday, October 29, 2012

Genny and the Cane Toad

It is said that cats have nine lives. If this is indeed true, Genny is rapidly using them up. She certainly is chipping away at the only one I have.

This morning she had an encounter with a cane toad, known here as sapo grande. The scientific name is Bufo marinus. They look like this ....



.... and this was a small one that I photographed a year ago. They are poisonous - as eggs, as tadpoles, as adults. The venom is secreted or possibly squirted.

At around 6:30 am today, Lance saw Genny backing away from a toad and she ran up onto the patio. Sure enough, she started drooling profuse salivation which told us she had contacted the venom. We had educated ourselves on what to do for a cat if this happens so we immediately washed her mouth out with two large glasses of water, then wiped the gums, teeth and mouth with a wet cloth. If I had been thinking more clearly, I would have used the garden hose - on a trickle of course - to more thoroughly rinse the poison out.

You have to be very careful not to force any liquids down the animal's throat - it could go into their airway. After this treatment, we watched to see if she would vomit, have difficulty breathing, stagger, convulse - thank goodness, none of this happened.

Given the current state of her overall health, we decided to get her to her vet in Santa Ana as a precaution. They said we did all the right things, including bringing her in for observation. She was due to go back this Thursday morning anyway for more renal blood work, so we opted to leave her in their good hands until then. It's stressful for her to be travelling back and forth.

People who live in Costa Rica and have pets already know about the cane toad but it can't be repeated often enough that we must keep our animals away from them. There is a lot of very good information on the internet also.

7 comments:

  1. Poor Genny - and poor you, also! I know the heart break of these desperate emergency actions and trips. Otto was bitten by a rattles when he was 8 months old. Not my fondest memory of his puppyhood. Good luck for a continued reprieve for Genny!!

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    1. Oh my goodness - a rattler! Poor Otto. How did you handle it? We should be keeping a snake bite anti-venom kit here for animals. I know I can get it from a vet in Atenas. And we should have one for humans too. Do you know where to get one of those?

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    2. Cruz roja, I think. I've read, anyway, that all cruz roja stations are up-to-dated on anti venom. Nice that we have it so close to Lomas! For you a 911 call specifying snake bite may be the fastest. In the US humans are usually not treated with anti venom, because it has a short shelf-life and can be just as difficult to metabolize as the venom. But in CR it's much more common to be administered.

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    3. Thank you so much, PC, for this valuable info. I think I'll make up a card for 911 with "snake bite" written in Spanish just in case, ditto our address and telephono. Cruz Roja is about 2.5 kms from us I think so not bad. Interesting how CR uses the anti-venom more often.

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  2. Poor Genny and you and Lance did the right thing immediately, took action and didn't delay. Mike and I saw a toad at your place and it could have been the poisonous one for all we knew.

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    1. Mady, for sure it was a cane toad ... they come out on the patio at night and can be seen in the early morning before it gets too warm. Thank goodness we were prepared .... my heart was racing so fast! I thought "this is not the way this cat is going out"!!

      Next we are going to buy rubber boots and a machete. I'm not walking up the hill by the banana trees anymore in sandals!! José our gardener can use the machete too for cutting banana trees down, etc.

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