Frog Month on April, 2022: Sick African Dwarf Frog! ((HLPE PLEASE!!!))?
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Some Common Frog Diseases and Their Treatment
While the best medicine is prevention, here are some common problems encountered by frog-pet owners. I want to stress that if your pet frog is afflicted with an illness, the most important thing to do is to Quarantine that/those afflicted frog(s) before the illness gets to the other frogs in your collection. See the Prevention notes for Quarantine.
*I am not a veterinarian. I just read a lot of frog books. If you are really worried about your frog, I strongly suggest you consult a real vet. This is for informational purposes only so please don't just rely on the info presented here because I don't take any responsibility for anything bad that happens to your frogs!
Caused by a lack of certain minerals or vitamins, this tends to show up in a variety of ways, such as skinniness and boneiness, and deformation diseases such as Rickets which cause poor growth development. Feed your frogs as much variety as possible, as this can occur mostly by feeding your frogs only one type of food: like nothing but mealworms, for example. In some cases, a routine application of powdered vitamin and mineral supplements will prevent such deficiencies. For example, feeding your crickets special powders/additives before feeding them to the frogs can help maintain more of a balance. The most common deficiency appears to be calcium. Sometimes frogs are picky about what sort of food they will take. My Oriental Firebellied Toads, for example, will only eat food that moves. Which means the mealworms I tried to feed them never got eaten because apparently they don't move fast enough. Sometimes you can coax frogs into eating by putting food on the ends of forceps (particularly if your dealing with some of the more aggressive frogs like Budgett's Frogs which can bite (and HURT!) your fingers!) Be careful in choosing forceps that aren't sharp or you might end up with open wound illnesses instead of malnutrition illnesses!
Caused by handling, clumsiness (i.e. panic-attack smashing into or falling onto sharp objects), and fighting, such open-wound and cut skin injuries tend to happen most to new specimens or during changing of environments. The wounds can easily get bacterial and fungal infections which can potentially kill your poor frog, so avoiding these situations is best. Badly damaged animals should be isolated and treated with anti-fungal solutions. There are a lot of antibiotics available, but I strongly recommend consulting a vet on this one.
The books I've read say that an iodine solution such as Betadine, or a commercial (3 percent) solution of Hydrogen Peroxide, can be applied to the wound using a small paintbrush. However, even the books caution you to consult a vet!
The most infamous frog disease of captive frogs, Red-leg is usually caused by the parasite Aeromonas hydrophyla. It appears as a reddening of the skin, particularly on the belly and underside of the thighs, (not to be confused with the natural colorings of some species of frogs!) Frogs that get red-leg tend to act apathetic and lazy. This is a really lethal disease so isolate the affected frog(s) right away! Sometimes in the case of newly imported animals it is more likely due to abrasions caused by dry packing, like cardboard. In the latter case, the only treatment necessary is to correct the cause and keep the affected animal(s) in an incredibly clean cage for a few days. Otherwise, redleg caught in it's early stages can sometimes be treated by bathing the frog in a Sulfamethiazine bath (15 ml for every 10 l water) daily for 2 weeks, or a 2% solution of copper sulfate or potassium permanganate for the same period. If it shows no signs of getting better after the first week, sometimes you can treat them with the use of an antibiotic like tetracycline, so consult your veterinarian on treatment.
For an in-depth essay on this disease, please see the Red Leg Essay.
Particularly troublesome to the aquatic amphibians and tadpoles, this shows up as areas of red inflammation based on soft white tissue, though generally speaking, it looks like any noticeable abnormal changes in skin color might be a symptom of this. If caught in the early stages, a fungal infection can sometimes be treated by one of several methods: the most commonly recommended method is immersing the animal in a 2% solution of malachite green or mercurochrome for 5 minutes, repeating after 24 hours if symptoms do not improve. If no improvement shows after 3 such treatments seek the advise of a vet. Another treatment I ran across was coating with 8-hydroxyquinoline (one part per 5000 every other day) until the condition vanishes.
Caused by Bacterium ranicida, this lethal disease occurs in certain temperate species during breeding season. Symptoms include continuous yawning, lethargy and skin discoloration. Apparently, there isn't any reliable treatment for this disease, though experimentation with antibiotics may be worthwhile. Consult your vet.
Possibly caused by bacteria, but much more likely a metabolism disorder - resulting from poor climactic maintenance or improper diet. Dropsy appears as bloating and soft dermal abnormalities around the abdominal region. The treatments sound really risky, involving puncturing the wounds if they aren't near the eye region. Even the one book I was able to find that describes this illness strongly recommends seeing a specialist for treatment.
photo of african dwarf frog with dropsy
another photo of dropsy infected floating african dwarf frog.
While you may not think of frogs as being particularly clean creatures, most diseases that pet frogs fall prey to are actually caused by their environment. Frogs tend to be very hardy creatures, but once they get sick the prognosis is rarely very good.
Here are a few checkpoints to assure that your frogs have good hygiene.
Selecting your pet frogs:
Unfortunately, I often will go into pet stores and find frogs that are already showing signs of illness. When selecting your pet, check it out first. Once a frog gets sick it can be very hard to cure it, so you want to pick out a hardy one to begin with. Jumpy frogs are healthy frogs. If they don't make a run for it when they get grabbed, they may not be in good condition. Abnormal bone structure, skinniness, or deformation are tell-tale signs of malnutrition. Hazy or cloudy eyes are signs of infection.
Frogs get really stressed when you transport them, so your best bet is to do this as quickly as possible, with as little handling as possible. This is a time when freaked frogs tend to hurt themselves, particularly by smashing into walls and other such dumb stuff that tends to happen in panics. Leave your frogs alone for the first day in their new home because they'll be pretty panicky, and let them adjust to their new surroundings.
Once you get a frog, a period of quarantine is recommended. This applies only if you are buying a new frog to add to the one(s) you already have. The reason for this is that you want to be absolutely sure that your frog (healthy as it may appear) doesn't bring an illness to the other frogs. (The idea here is that it may just be coming down with a case of something.) The best way to do this is to keep it in quarantine in a separate, smaller tank for about a week before introducing it to your other frogs. You can get fairly cheap cover-equipped plastic housing units of various sizes for such purposes. These are also really good for use when transporting frogs.
Frogs spend a lot of time in water, and clean water is a must! Before you add that water to your frog tank, make sure it has been de-chlorinated. (My sister almost lost her frogs when the tap water had a bit more chlorine in it than usual.) Best procedure here is to get a little bottle of dechlorinating solution from the nearest pet store. (any store that carries fish should have it) Add the dechlorinating drops to the water before the frogs go in... and even better, leave the water in a bucket/pitcher out for about 24-48 hours before you put it in your frog tank. Stale water is always much safer than straight tap water. Once this is done, clean the water regularly, the way you would with fish. wash your hands before touching tank items and be sure to also clean the gravel. (Be careful not to clean too often, as messing with the water too often can lead to "shocking" a frogs' system.) It may be a good idea to keep one of those pH testing kits around. (They can be found at most pet stores that carry aquarium fish: care here is about the same as would be advised for most fish) And finally, don't overfeed. If you have too many dead bugs or too much food flakes/debris in the water it can very quickly lead to infection.
If you have frogs that live entirely underwater, such as African Dwarf frogs or African Clawed frogs, you'd best be worried that they can't get OUT from their tank. (My sister lost quite a few froggy friends this way...she doesn't have very good luck with her pet frogs) However, frogs need well ventilated tanks, particularly those that end up needing greenhouse-like environments. The moisture in the tank can lead to all kinds of fungal and bacterial infections. Best recommendation here is to get a screen cover which doesn't get covered. (just like instructions on a VCR!)
Having too many frogs in the same place can also lead to bad conditions. Overcrowding a tank will generally make the frogs unhappy as well as provide breeding grounds for bacteria and fungi. It may also be a factor contributing to injuries, like when they smack into each other, or the walls, or when they get into fights. (If you don't believe me; spend some time in an elevator with a few complete strangers and see how you feel after an hour or two.) In addition, some species of frogs release chemicals from their bodies that can be toxic to other species of frogs. So it's rarely a good idea to mix breeds in the same tank. (Not to mention the fact that some frogs will actually eat other species, and even sometimes just smaller specimens, of frogs!
Frogs found in nature have a very wide variety in their diet. For example, poison frogs lose their toxicity when they are bred in captivity because their diet is no longer as diverse as it would naturally be. Realistically, we can't provide the complete variety that would be best, but keeping this in mind is a good idea. Crickets tend to be the most available food, and generally make the basic staple for frogs. (Some frogs require much bigger lunches, even mice! For that type of info you're best bet is to look it up yourself, since I am considerably too squeemish to deal with that sort of subject. See my Suggested Reading List for some great written sources.) Crickets can, and should, however, be supplemented with special calcium gut pellets, like "Calcium Plus, food for Crickets", that provide the frogs with necessary minerals. These can be found in most pet stores. The best way to do this is to drop some of these pellets in with the crickets several hours before they get fed to the frogs. Then when you go to feed them to the frogs, they will be full of good stuff for healthy froggies! For more info on this: read the section on dealing with Crickets. There are also different types of powders that can be sprinkled on the bugs before you feed them to your frogs.
Generally speaking, handle your dear ones as little as possible. Some specimens are extraordinarily fragile and a lot of the most common problems stem from rough handling or frogs that spaz when you try to handle them, then jump out and smash themselves on something and hurt themselves. Also, some species don't mix well with the salts that are on your skin, so before handling your frogs, WASH YER HANDS!!! Some frogs even release a fluid as a form of self defense when handled. This fluid can sometimes be toxic to the person handling the frogs, so be sure to also wash your hands well immediately after any handling as well. In addition, this fluid comes from a reserve supply of body fluid in the frogs, which needs to be replaced as soon as possible. Frogs don't "drink" water, but rather absorb it through the skin, so it's important that the frog has access to water after handling.
What frogs bite during this month and which are poisonous? Thanks.?
In the USA, there are virtually no biting frogs. The Pyxie frog, or African Bullfrog, which is commonly kept as a pet get about as big as a standard telephone and has 2 fangs and can bite very hard. They have to because they eat rodents. i was bitten by one about 30 years ago and needed 2 stitches in my finger.
All toads are techically poisonous. The parotoid glands behind their eyes secrete bufotonin, a strong poison and hallucinogen. They seldom use their venom unless they are attacked or eaten. Any common toad, such as American , Southern or Fowler's toads can kill a dog if it eats them. The Gulf Coast Toad became sort of famous about 20 years ago in a toad licking craze on college campuses. It's venom can produce effects similar to LSD. The most dangerous USA toads are the Colorado River Toad and Marine Toad which are very large and have enough venom to kill several people. The venom looks like Elmer's Glue, so if you touch one that is secreting venom you should wash your hands immediately. No toads have biting venoms.
Panamanian Poison and Poison Dart Frogs in South America have super strong venom all over their body and are used to coat arrows to kill large game. They are poisonous when first brought into a foreign country, but lose their poison after a few months as they absorb it from poisonous bushes in the tropics.
The only American Frog that is slightly poisonous is the Pickerel Frog. Again, the poison, which is weak and tastes vile is all over them, so you should be careful handling them.
My African dwarf frogs?!?
I personally don't recommend keeping fish with frogs, because they require different types of fresh water. Fish require bacteria in their water in order to survive. Frogs require really clean water.
The type of water that the fish require to be healthy will make the frogs sick. Not right away, but it will eventually.
The type of water that the frogs require to be healthy is too clean for the fish, which will make them sick.
I have tried keeping aquatic frogs with fish, and my frogs all ended up dying on me. I don't believe in mixing different species together, as it always ends up bad in the end. Pets end up very sick, eaten, or dead.
A 1 gallon enclosure is too small to be keeping 2 dwarf frogs in. They require 1 gallon of water per frog.
You CAN take them out to clean their enclosure. Just use a fish net, and scoop them up in that, and place them in a cup or a bowl with some clean water in it.
The water for frogs needs to be dechlorianted. Prime by Seachem and AmQuel by Kordon are the best two brands to be using with frogs.
When cleaning the water for aquatic frogs, if there is a filter on the tank, you can do a 50% water change every week, or a 100% water change every two weeks. If there is no filter on the tank, you need to do a FULL water change every day. Any bacteria that is building up in the water will make the frogs sick.
You want to avoid using your hands to handle the frogs with, as you can do damage the the frogs skin by touching it with your hands, it is also very stressful on frogs to be handled (frogs can die from stress). If you must handle them, it is best to wear gloves (latex, vinyl, nitrile).
I would suggest upgrading the frogs tank. You can pick up 5 gallon aquarium kits pretty cheap at most pet shops, walmart, even yard sales, Craig's List or the Salvation Army Thrift stores.
The best thing for aquatic frogs is a bare bottom tank. Substrate (aquarium pebbles), allow for too much build up of debris (poop, left over food), and this can also cause the frogs to get sick.
If you want to house the frogs temporarily in the 20 gallon that will be fine, but it shouldn't be a permanent solution. I don't recommend leaving them in there for longer then a month or two, and that would depend on how big your goldfish is, and your tank cleaning schedule.
There shouldn't be an aggression issue with the khulii loaches, I kept some with mine when I first started to keep frogs.
The gold fish should be fine too, so long as it's small (less then 8" long). I tried to keep mine with some of my goldfish before, and one of my big ones would try to eat them on occasion.
In my aquatic frog collection, I currently own 2 African Dwarf Frogs (ADF) and a Budgett's Frog. I also used to own African Clawed Frogs (ACF). I own over 15 different types of frogs plus other reptiles and fish.