Treasure Coast Essay
7:20 am
Mon July 28, 2014

Beware of poisonous toads

Should we add cane toads to the list of alien creatures that have invaded the Treasure Coast?  According to the weekly newspaper 32963, which serves that zip code, a resident of the Vero Beach barrier island noticed his 18-month-old English Setter named Major was foaming at the mouth and shaking his head.  The owner rushed the dog to a vet, who treated Major for venom poisoning from a cane toad.  Apparently, Major had bit a cane toad or licked it or just sniffed it.  Cane toads are big.  They squirt a milky venom from glands behind their ears that can be lethal to small mammals and harmful to larger mammals, including dogs.  Humans, too.  Do not pick one up.  Cane toads are native to Central and South America.  They are so named because it is believed they were introduced to South Florida by sugar cane growers to destroy pests that damaged their crop.  The Vero Beach incident was the first confirmed encounter with a cane toad in Indian River County.  But in recent years cane toads have been found in St. Lucie and Martin Counties.  A Florida Fish and Wildlife spokesman told 32963: If people are starting to see cane toads, it’s only a matter of time before we see more of them.  Oh, great.  But here is a piece of good news: Major, the English Setter that was squirted by  a cane toad, is doing fine.  For 88.9 FM, this is Paul Janensch.