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Dog Eats Nasty Toad, Gets 'Mouth-to-Snout' CPR

Florida dog had fallen unconscious in a canal
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 20, 2014 6:00 PM CDT
Man Gives Dying Dog 'Mouth-to-Snout' CPR

Earlier this month, a Florida dog owner gave his pooch mouth-to-mouth resuscitation—or "mouth to snout," he calls it—in an effort to save the dog's life, the Miami Herald reports. Andrew Burtschin, 29, returned from a boating trip to his Key Largo home on Oct. 1 and saw his dogs, Skunk and Shadow, munching away on something. Burtschin thought little of it until Shadow, breathing heavily, went into contortions and plopped face-down in a canal. Burtschin hurried over in his boat and pulled out Shadow's lifeless body. "As soon as I saw her in the water, I thought she was dead," he tells WPTV. Trained in CPR, Burtschin applied chest compressions and gave the golden retriever/pit bull mix "mouth-to-snout resuscitation."

"I don't remember learning [CPR] on a dog but, it's kind of the same principles I think," he says. Sure enough, Shadow spat up foam and Burtschin hurried her to the vet—who gave the dog a steroid that seemed to bring her out of shock. The culprit? According to Florida wildlife expert David Hitzig, Shadow ate a bufo toad that emits a potentially fatal toxin from its head. Shadow may have lucked out by falling in the canal, which flushed toxins from her mouth, Hitzig says. As Burtschin puts it, "I think she might have eaten a four-leaf clover along with the toad or something." And Shadow is still dining on the darn things, with no ill effects so far: "She’s gotten into several of them since then," says Burtschin. "She hasn't learned her lesson." (Read about a teen who lost a leg and rescued a dog who did, too.)

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