Emergency diagnosis and treatment of amphibian diseases
EMERGENCY DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT OF AMPHIBIAN
Copyright Paul Rust
A very special thank you to Bruce Maclean, DVM
THE SYMPTOMS LISTED IN THIS ARTICLE COULD BE INDICATORS OF A
MUCH WORSE UNDERLYING PROBLEM. THE TREATMENTS ARE INTENDED
FOR EMERGENCY USE TO STABILIZE YOUR ANIMAL UNTIL IT CAN BE SEEN
BY AN AMPHIBIAN MEDICAL SPECIALIST. THIS IS NOT INTENDED TO
REPLACE VETERINARY CARE.
Before treating any frog, you need to be sure that it is sick. Therefore you
should keep a close eye on it so you can intervene if necessary. Placing the
animal in quarantine should keep any contagious diseases from spreading
to the rest of the population. One of the problems commonly found among frogs is stress. It is caused by
prolonged captivity in a small area or a vivarium with too many frogs in it.
Messy vivariums and too much exposure to humans can also cause stress. Symptoms: animals won't eat and/or lay on their backs while twitching
(often occurs with young animals). If you buy a new frog, place it in a small
dish with some tepid water and a teaspoon of honey. Place the frog in this
solution for 30 minutes. Then quarantine the frog for 30 days.
A FEW NOTES ON MEDICATIONS USED IN THIS GUIDE Panacur (Febendazole) is a great medicine to have on hand. Purchase it as
Panacur-C in the 4 gram packets. It is safe to use and some people
recommend treating your collection routinely with it once every 1-2 weeks
to keep worms under control. Personally I treat my frogs for 3 days on the
first of every month. It is very easy to use; you just dust the food with it. Flagyl (Metronidazole) the oral liquid also a good one to have on hand as it
is useful for a broad range of problems, from parasites to appetite to
Another good one to have around is a topical cream (Neosporin), as you
could quickly apply it to any frog with a bump or scratch from shipping (or
anything else) and head off a potentially serious infection. Another item I use commonly is an Electrolyte solution (Pedialyte), for new
frogs or ones that seem dehydrated or listless, a few minutes in a bath of
this can bring them around. As far as liquid de-wormers go, I would not get one of these unless
recommended after a fecal exam, as they kill all the worms at once. A bunch
of dead worms inside the frog can lead to death from Septic Shock. LymnoZyme is a pro-biotic that can be added to the water for aquatic
species. It is a very safe treatment that competes for the nutrients (waste
material) that pathogens require to survive and will reduce the bacterial
count of Aeromonas, Pseudomonas or pathogens to such low levels that
they will not be a threat to the health of your frogs. It is effective against
both Gram negative and Gram positive bacteria.
Symptoms: Disease: Treatment:
Doesn't eat, loses weight, is listless, has lumps or other irregularities on the
skin. Bacterial infections. Treat with ENROFLOXACIN (BAYTRIL) Put 8 drops in 125ml Tepid water. Put
a lid on the bowl and make sure the frogs’ head stays above the water.
Duration: 15 min. each day for 6 days. Listless, often found in water or hiding, watery droppings. Parasites in intestines, “Protozoa” Parasites are always present in the intestines, but they will cause problems
when the animal is weak. Treat with METRONIDAZOLE (FLAGYL) 1 drop in 8 drops of tepid water. Place one drop on the back of frog.
Duration: Each day for 6 days. Treatment for the vivarium: 1ml per 5 liters
of water; use this to spray the vivarium. Does eat, loses weight, listless. Parasites in intestines, “Worms” Treat with FENBENDAZOLE (PANACUR) 25mg/kg of bodyweight. Dissolve
and drop on frogs’ back once a day for at least 10 days. Or dust the food
items for 3 consecutive days. Pink area surrounding cloaca, bulging cloaca. Infections in intestines. Treat with SALT. Grind into a powder and sprinkle on food.
Acts spasmodic, is active but loses weight, dry skin. Worms. Treat with ERGAMISOL(LEVAMISOLE) 1 drop in 3 drops of tepid water, pour
water over frog's back, then place and leave one drop on its back. Duration:
7 days. Listless and doesn't eat. Hypothermal. Same as treatment for stress. Duration: 7 days. Flesh-colored spots on skin, toes or nose. Wounds, scrapes, cuts. SULFANILAMIDE POWDER Antibiotic. Apply to wound several times per day. Skinny front legs (young frogs). Spindly Leg Syndrome. No treatment. Euthanasia is the only option. TRICAINE
METHANESULFONATE (FINQUEL) or (MS-222) Mix 2X the recommended
dosage with an equal amount of SODIUM BICARBONATE Dissolve in an
equal amount of water and inject into the abdomen. Fungus on skin. Red Leg, Pseudomonas, Hydrophila. Use the water area of a quarantine vivarium and add 0.6% SALT by volume.
Make sure that the frog gets in the water often. Duration 6 weeks (refresh
water often). Use a solution of 0.2% MERBROMIN (MERCUROCHROME)on
areas of the frog with fungus, rinse after several minutes.
PAUL’S FROG FIRST AID KIT HAVING THESE ITEMS ON HAND SHOULD GET YOU OUT OF MOST EMERGENCY SITUATIONS.
SALT HONEY NEOSPORIN PEDIALYTE LYMNOZYME PANACUR-C (FENBENDAZOLE) FLAGYL (METRONIDAZOLE) BAYTRIL (ENROFLOXACIN) MERCUROCHROME (MERBROMIN) SULFA (SULFANILAMIDE POWDER) ERGAMISOL (LEVAMISOLE) TRICAINE METHANESULFONATE (MS-222) (FINQUEL) SODIUM BICARBONATE (BAKING SODA)
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