The following are the Quarantine and Medical Protocols as contained in the ASN handbook. The protocols were adapted from the IUCN Conservation Breeding Specialist Group (CBSG) Amphibian Specialist Group (ASG). These guidelines, in addition to the Amphibian Ex Situ Conservation Planning Workshop Final Report
(1), can be found in the ASN handbook
(Section 3, pages 25-29).
Quarantine and Medical Protocols
Quarantine standards were drafted by the CBSG/WAZA Amphibian Ex Situ Conservation Planning Workshop held in El Valle, Panama 20068. These standards adopt tough guidelines necessary to prevent transmission of disease to wild amphibian populations. ASN stewards are required to meet Quarantine 3 (Ex situ out-of-range for display, research, education, with no possibility of return to the wild in range country) standards and are encouraged to adopt as many of the higher standard protocols as possible. These standards are reprinted at the end of this section. Because most private stewards maintain cosmopolitan collections, it will be difficult or impossible for most stewards to follow the stringent isolation protocols required to meet Quarantine 1 and 2 standards for animals intended for release to the wild. When warranted by need, ASN will work with professional species management authorities to develop quarantine protocols on a case by case basis.
The following general guidelines should be followed to minimize the risk of introducing disease and cross-contamination in the steward’s general collection.
All amphibian tanks must be treated as discreet ecosystems and you must ensure that there is no exchange whatsoever between them. Even insects should not be able to escape and enter new tanks as they could be disease vectors. Make sure you always thoroughly wash you hands with soap and water for 15 seconds after putting them in a vivarium, and never transfer plants, substrate or decorating materials between tanks that have not been thoroughly disinfected. If anything has been in a tank that has suffered catastrophic losses, the plants and furniture should be discarded. When servicing vivaria, always service new acquisitions or diseased animals last to avoiding contamination of healthy animals. To maintain compliance with the Husbandry 2 standard, maintain a consistent directional flow of routine during maintenance and feeding (See Section 2: General Husbandry).
If you do plan to reuse vivarium materials, a 10% bleach solution can be used to topically disinfect tank items, but a newly found and likely safer and more effective method is to spray surfaces with separate solutions (do not mix them together prior to spraying on the surface) of hydrogen peroxide, 3% which is over the counter strength, in conjunction with household vinegar (5% acetic acid) followed by a rinse with tap water. Note that hydrogen peroxide rapidly breaks down in the presence of light and must be stored in an opaque container in a dark place. More information on this method can be found at http://www.michaelandjudystouffer.com/j ... inegar.htm
Using Household Bleach as a Disinfectant
IMPORTANT: Organic debris such as feces and dirt will rapidly inactivate the bleach solution, so all surfaces should be clean before you begin the disinfectant process. Also, the diluted bleach solution is very short lived. It’s half life (the time required for 50% reduction in strength) is two hours.
If you plan to use bleach as a disinfectant, it should be diluted to ¾ cup of regular, non-scented bleach to 1 gallon of tap water, or a 1:10 ratio of bleach to water.
Hard, non-porous surfaces should be wiped down with the bleach solution, allowed to sit for 10 minutes, then rinsed with plain water and allowed to dry.
Plant materials can also be sterilized with the 1:10 dilution of regular household bleach, however since soil inactivates the sodium hypochlorite (the effective ingredient) in bleach, the leaves and roots must be thoroughly washed prior to disinfecting. Plant material should be soaked for 30 minutes, rinsed, and allowed to dry before using. Some plants may be damaged or killed by the bleach solution.
The spread of infectious disease is a serious concern whenever multiple groups of animals are housed in the same facility. All animals should be isolated for a period of time before being introduced to their tank mates, or in some cases, even the area of the facility where other animals live. New acquisitions may harbor disease and should be isolated from other animals in your collection . New or sick animals should be held in quarantine for at least a period of 45 days, but up to 3 months would be ideal.
A quarantine setup should not suggest that they must be in a bare, sterile box. This can cause physical and emotional stress on the animals and if they did harbor pathogen(s), allow them to overtake their immune capacity. Quarantine tanks should provide cover, warmth, hiding/sleeping spots, water and plenty of food. They should also be away from household activity that could cause undue stress to the animals as they get acclimated to captivity. If possible, quarantine tanks should be kept in a different room or building from other amphibians and quarantine enclosures should always be serviced last when making daily rounds.
Animals managed under Category 3-4 standards should, at a minimum, be quarantined in a separate room or approved isolation chamber for 90 days prior to moving them in with a cosmopolitan collection. As previously mentioned, Category 4, specimens may require additional quarantine protocols such as long term maintenance in isolation from a cosmopolitan population.
The new food sources that you provide may also provide difficulty to the animals. Be prepared to alter what and how often you feed, and possibly limit supplementation until you feel that they are accustomed to their new diet.
Disease testing and treatment
All stewards should ensure that amphibians managed in ASN are adequately screened for disease and treated as warranted. Development of specific veterinary care standards was deferred by the CBSG/WAZA Amphibian Ex Situ Conservation Planning Workshop held in El Valle, Panama 2006. When those standards become available, the ASN committee will review them for possible adoption. Pending the adoption of such standards, stewards are encouraged to seek the advice of a veterinarian qualified in amphibian medicine if any of their animals display symptoms of illness or disease. Stewards should also consider performing routine screening through fecal exams to establish a baseline and provide early detection of diseases warranting treatment. Finally, stewards are strongly encouraged to obtain a copy of Amphibian Medicine and Captive Husbandry
(Whitaker & Wright, 2001) to serve as a reference for amphibian health related issues.
1. Zippel, K., R. Lacy, and O. Byers (eds.) 2006. CBSG/WAZA Amphibian Ex Situ Conservation Planning Workshop Final Report. IUCN/SSC Conservation Breeding Specialist Group, Apple Valley, MN 55124, USA.