TAMPA, FL (WFLA) – Kelly Fluharty was terrified as she witnessed her 12-year old Dachshund, Heidi, having a seizure. The Tampa resident says Heidi was foaming at the mouth, while on her back, in the backyard.
“I’m panicking. Full blown, I went into panic mode,” says Fluharty, explaining how it’s never happened before.
Fluharty’s husband rushed Heidi to the veterinary emergency room where they learned the seizure was caused by a common backyard visitor in the rainy Florida summer months – the Bufo Toad.
Veterinary Doctor Brittany Jaeger explains, “Lights on the patio and food especially will attract the Bufos,” warning pet parents to keep a close eye on pets in the yard.
Heidi was stabilized and is recovering at home. It’s such a common occurrence, Blue Pearl Veterinary Hospital in Tampa keeps a Bufo Toad on display in a jar to warn clients. The toad’s glands release a poison when bitten or licked by pets. Jaeger tells 8 On Your Side that poison causes the deadly seizures, adding that the key to survival is immediate veterinary care.
This summer, Jaeger also warns pet parents to be sure to have all of their pets’ vaccines and preventive care up to date. While fleas are common year-rounds in Florida, Jaeger explains they are more active in the summer months.
Blue Pearl has seen an increase in heat stroke cases as well. Vets recommend only taking pets on morning or evening walks as the midday sun may be too intense for them.