Man saves poisoned dog from drowning

WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - A family dog fell into the ocean, suffering from a seizure, after she was bitten by a Bufo toad. The dog, named Shadow, was saved from drowning thanks to a Palm Beach Gardens man who jumped into action.

The frantic moments were all captured on a surveillance camera on a Key Largo boat dock. "As soon as I saw her in the water, I thought, she was dead," said Andrew Burtschin.

Burtschin, who's from Palm Beach Gardens, did not know at the time Shadow had bitten the toxic skin of a Bufo toad. With her lungs full of water, Burtschin attempted CPR. "I don't remember learning on a dog, but it's kind of the same principles I think," said Burtschin.

Minutes after he started CPR, Burtschin said, his beloved family dog started moving again. After he rushed Shadow to the veterinarian, animal doctors confirmed the dog had bitten a Bufo toad. "Believe it or not, the dog falling right into the water, right after exposure to the toad, may not have been the worse thing because it gave the dog the ability to wash that toxic paste out of the dogs mouth and may have saved the dogs life," said David Hitzig, executive director of the Busch Wildlife Sanctuary in Jupiter.

Hitzig said the toxic skin of the non-native Bufo toad can kill if not treated. He said Shadow is one lucky dog. "I think she might have eaten a four-leaf clover along with the toad or something," said Burtschin.

Shadow is now on antibiotics and expected to make a full recovery from an ordeal Burtschin will likely never forget. "I guess I was in the right place and the right time. I'm really happy because she's a great dog, and I'm really happy she's alive," said Burtschin.

Wildlife experts urge pet owners to continuously wipe and wash the mouth of any dog who comes into contact with a Bufo toad.

More information on Toad Venom Toxicosis in Dogs.

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