Originally Posted by lacerta
Check out my photos in the gallery. I have an album of frog parasites. I have done hundreds of fecals, not only on my own frogs, but also on wild reptiles and amphibians. Here are a few observations regarding my limited experience with amphibians:
1. Wild caught frogs and toads are litterally "bag-o-worms". A heavy parasite load involving multiple phyla of organisms is the norm.
2. In captive bred frogs the infection rate is probably close to 100% if you count all forms of protista. Infection involving nematodes is also very high but do not involve anywhere near the diversity of different parasite species you'll encounter in wild frogs.
3. As pointed out earlier, flotation techniques are not nearly as effective as a direct smear with the small volume of feces you get from dart frogs. Most of the smaller protista are destroyed by the rapid osmotic change and are missed. Likewise the number of shed larvae by most nematode species can vary and false negatives are very common. For this reason I prefer to use a dissecting scope for an initial scan. In a watch glass or petri the entire fecal pellet can be teased apart and flooded with several drops of saline (.6%). Using the upper magnification levels (40X) on most dissecting scopes will immediately reveal movement. Most samples will litterally be teaming with ciliates and flagellates along with 1st stage nematode larvae. Some blastomere or larvated eggs are also often encountered. Further detailed examination can be done using a compound scope at much high magnification. I will often use a micropipette to lift specimens from under the dissecting scope in order to prepare a wet mount for much higher magnification.
4. Beware of "artifacts" that look like parasites or eggs. Fruit fly eggs, insect parts, pollen, etc have fooled many "experts".
Happy Hunting! There is a whole new world inside that little dab of fex.
(by the way: "feces" is plural for fex"
A couple thoughts.
Your #s don't quite jibe with the thousands of Dart Frog
fecals my brother has run and followed up on. I have to wonder why a vet would say that almost 100% of CB would be infected when almost 100% of newly morphed froglets are not. Does this 100% stat include your frogs? While it is much more difficult to raise a clean froglet in an eggfeeder environment , quarantine (with proper dis-infection of other things going into the vivs) can and should wipe out pretty much all of the nasties before introduction into a clean viv. Therefore having a clean viv + clean adults should= clean babies. How is it possible that all of the froglets being produced are infected? I know mine are not.
Also, out of the hundreds (and hundreds, and...possibly thousands) of strickly WC Dart Frog
fecals my brother has run he has found most WCs to be much less infected than the average CB that has been walking around in it's own un-quarantined, nematode/proto/whatever poop day after day after day. This should not be hard to grasp.
And, it should be stressed , as I have already, that it is not hard to set up a fecal (I have done hundreds myself) , but IDing properly the eggs/worms/whatever is. Very hard at times. And after you do possibly ID whatever a consult with a vet is needed to properly treat (or not treat if you choose) and understand the issues at hand.