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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I took my frog to the vet because I think she had a seizure and the vet discovered both my frogs (tankmates) had bacteria on their skin (and the sick one had parasites). I’m treating both of them with a myriad of meds, but he said healthy frogs do have some skin bacteria which is normal. But because I noticed some health issues, they decided to treat the skin bacteria as a possible cause for her health issues. They didn’t do a stool analysis of the other, “healthy” frog, but since they’re tankmates, the vet recommended I treat them both.

I’ve QT’d them in separate tanks (first time they’ve been alone!). They’re both around 3/4” long. The “sick” one (Skye) weighs 1g. The “healthy” one (Bozo) weighs 2g. S/he eats more and is more bold and active. I think they were roughly the same size when I got them, so Bozo has put on some weight. I’m not sure if Skye has lost weight, but in comparison to Bozo, s/he’s smaller since she rarely goes out to eat- or at least eats when I’m not around.

The pet store tank was not crowded. Not sure if it was dirty. My 20 gallon high bioactive tank is plenty big for them and clean. I’ve fed them Petco FFs (dusted, of course) as well as a culture of FFs I got from a hobbyist on this forum. Her FFs looked very healthy and clean.

So I’m concerned about these parasites and skin bacteria. Where did they come from? I know some skin bacteria is always present and normal, and when stressed they can take over. Kind of like us humans. When we’re stressed, a small cut can turn into an infection.

The parasites really confound me because I was told they were captive bred. Unless the FFs had parasites, where else could they have gotten them from? They likely had them before I got them?

Before anyone starts to worry, I’m treating them with:
Metronidazole
Baytril Otic
Panacur
Fluids LRS (supposedly an electrolyte solution)

The skin bacteria- is it possible that 99% humidity is too much humidity? Perhaps 99% RH is fine as long as I have airflow? Originally, I had a mesh screen lid with a fogger, but the FFs kept escaping so I bought a glass lid. I’m going to make a custom mesh/glass lid following a few tutorials on this site (thank you!). Coupled with my fogger, that will create some airflow so no bacteria can breed. I also have a UVB light. I assumed the UV would also kill off any bacteria. That is prob not strong enough. Should I buy a IVA/IVB combo light? I think I have Zoomed Tropical UV 5.0 on my 20 gallon high. Maybe I should get a 10.0 Tropical? I didn’t want to burn my frogs, but there’s plenty of foliage/cover they can hide if the rays are too strong?

Also, as I’m new to the hobby, can someone please explain why the UV bulbs need to be replaced after 6mo? Can I use the 6mo old bulb in a section covered by glass (since the UV technically doesn’t “work” it doesn’t matter if covered by glass)? So basically I would have 2 light sources: 1 not covered by glass so UV can penetrate (fresh bulb); the other light source covered by glass with the “old” bulb. This way my plants will have a lot of light and the frogs will have some source of UV. Plus, I feel like I’m recycling the bulb instead of just throwing it out. Obviously, I’ll monitor the temp and make sure it doesn’t get too hot

In summary:
-does UV light kill skin bacteria?
-does lack of air flow cause skin bacteria?
-could I use a Tropical UV 10.0 light since I have a 20 gallon high?
-is a full spectrum UV better than only a UVB light? (I know there are debates on whether dart frogs even need UV, but I feel it might help them with vitamin D3 conversion/absorption). I don’t mind paying extra for this
-can I use the “old” bulb in a section covered by glass, to give plants more light?
 

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What species of frog are you are talking about? What parasites ( specific type) did your vet say they had? Did they do a bacterial culture of the skin and if so what (type/ name) of bacteria did they culture? These are very helpful.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
What species of frog are you are talking about? What parasites ( specific type) did your vet say they had? Did they do a bacterial culture of the skin and if so what (type/ name) of bacteria did they culture? These are very helpful.
I have 2 azureus.

He didn’t specify the parasite(s). Not sure if he was making it up. When I pushed to know what specific parasites they were, he said they found strongyle larva and strongylid eggs, as well as Protozoa. I think he was talking about the parasites in Skye’s fecal sample. They didn’t test Bozo’s stool.

They did a skin swab. They didn’t specify what type of bacteria. I again asked for specifics and they said they saw flagella and coccyx (?) and/or rods?? via microscope. However, it seemed to take hours for them to get the results back, which doesn’t make sense since they never sent the sample out. I’m not sure this vet did his due dilligence as he seemed clueless and very dismissive the entire time. He kept referring to some book, didn’t seem prepared (even though they had my frogs all day). He was confused and the situation was all very confusing for me. I apologize I can’t provide more details. The vet didn’t seem to know much and when someone’s confused trying to explain something they don’t understand, they don’t make much sense for an inexperienced person like me. Again, this is why I’m skeptical about the parasites since he seemed put off that I wanted to know what they were and why he couldn’t run additional, specific tests to determine the right course of action. Their response was that if parasites are detected, then they treat it without waiting for results from a more specific test.

When I asked if they were going to send out the fecal sample and/or the skin samples, he said with such small animals, it’s not possible. Now I know he’s wrong (my phone was dying so I couldn’t research while in the office). He said that while there’s always some amount of bacteria on the skin that’s normal, because Skye was presenting with other problems his recommendation was to treat for the bacteria and parasites.

I am getting a second opinion with another vet on Tuesday. Not sure if he sees a lot of amphibians, but his office apparently sends out stool samples. I’m hoping this new vet has some more experience with amphibians and can help my frogs.

I think I will do one more treatment for Bozo and then discontinue treatment. He seemed healthy before all this and the treatments really stress him out. I’m worried treating him when we don’t know if he’s actually sick is doing more harm than good.

FYI- I spoke with the Petco manager. He has been raising PDFs for over 5 years, is an active dendroboard member, and cautioned against using all these meds. He also was shocked there were parasites since he shared the breeder info and they are a very reputable vendor. They are even one of dendroboard’s sponsors! Apparently, they sell wholesale to pet stores, but this info is not shared publicly. The manager told me he would provide all the paperwork showing my frogs’ lineage. Since these were captive bred frogs from a reputable breeder/vendor, I’m stumped how they contracted parasites. I hope I didn’t slmehow introduce them somehow. Everything in their tank came from pet stores (cork bark, ABG mix, hides, caves) and the plants mainly from nurseries that don’t use pesticides or were tissue-cultured (with the exception of a couple plants I thought I throroughly washed and quarantined), and the leaf litter from my parents’ pesticide-free backyard and sterilized (baked at 350F for 30min).

The skin bacteria might not be a huge issue as some of its normal to have, but I bought all the materials to make a custom mesh + glass screen. I think some ventilation will help keep any bacteria at bay, and hopefully the UV light (albeit low) will also diminish any skin bacteria.

I picked up some Flukers liquid calcium and liquid multivitamin. Idk if I should treat them by soaking them in it (diluted with water), or if I should just leave a water bowl filled with it. These treatments really stress them out. I’m hoping they’ll go into the water bowl of their own volition. Thoughts?
 

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Actually the vet is right, freshly read fecals are always going to be better for determining what is going on with an animal than one that has been shipped. As an example, an overgrowth of protozoa in the fecal isn't likely to be be detected as these organisms die before shipped fecals are processed and read. Overgrowths of protozoa indicate that something is off with the animal and they contribute to irritation of the digestive tract which reduces feeding and nutrient uptake.

As for the skin bacteria, it depends on their opinion about the diversity found... as overgrowths can indicate things like immune suppression from stress or other reasons. It could also be due to the fact that the frogs in the store are probably exposed to multiple other animals since their setups cannot prevent cross contamination. I should also note, that certain chains are known to purchase from people who hybridize the frogs and identify them based on appearance so you may not actually have "true" azureus.

Since for treatment you don't need to have the worms identified down to species level, an identification as to general type is sufficient for treatment so I'm not sure why your questioning the Strongyle identification. It isn't uncommon for parasites like worms to show up in captive bred frogs since "clean" fecals don't mean the frog is parasite free, just that nothing was detected at that time.

some comments

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Actually the vet is right, freshly read fecals are always going to be better for determining what is going on with an animal than one that has been shipped. As an example, an overgrowth of protozoa in the fecal isn't likely to be be detected as these organisms die before shipped fecals are processed and read. Overgrowths of protozoa indicate that something is off with the animal and they contribute to irritation of the digestive tract which reduces feeding and nutrient uptake.

As for the skin bacteria, it depends on their opinion about the diversity found... as overgrowths can indicate things like immune suppression from stress or other reasons. It could also be due to the fact that the frogs in the store are probably exposed to multiple other animals since their setups cannot prevent cross contamination. I should also note, that certain chains are known to purchase from people who hybridize the frogs and identify them based on appearance so you may not actually have "true" azureus.

Since for treatment you don't need to have the worms identified down to species level, an identification as to general type is sufficient for treatment so I'm not sure why your questioning the Strongyle identification. It isn't uncommon for parasites like worms to show up in captive bred frogs since "clean" fecals don't mean the frog is parasite free, just that nothing was detected at that time.

some comments

Ed
Hi again! 😉

I’m questioning the vet since he said he never gets frogs, let alone ones that were this tiny. He also didn’t really seem knowledgable about issues frogs can have and what sort of testing could be done. I’m no expert, but he didn’t seem confident about his responses and wasn’t prepared, even though they had had both frogs all day, and almost dismissive about their issues.

WRT hybridization, the Petco manager shared the vendor (a site sponsor), and is going to provide me their lineage paperwork. He has also been a hobbyist for many years and assured me they weren’t hybridized and were CB.

He said their tanks were cleaned with hydrogen peroxide weekly and that the only other contact with any other animals might be Pac-Man frogs. An employee at East Bay Viv/fellow hobbyist said it’s common to find pinworms and coccyl (?) in fecal matter which is commonly found in crickets and FFs, which is where they may have gotten the parasites from.

The skin bacteria doesn’t worry me too much, because as you said it’s normal to a certain extent. However, if they’re stressed or sick (low immunity) the bacteria can flourish. I will reduce the tank humidity as well, and add some airflow.

Thanks again for your insight!
 

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Hydrogen peroxide doesn't affect a large number of potential infectious agents...

In this case, its use is a panacea more than anything else..

As an example Cryptosporidium serpentis (and several others) can only be disinfected with straight house hold ammonia (undiluted right out of the bottle), live steam, or a sufficient concentration of peracetic acid (the vinergar and peroxide concentrations are often not enough) and that assumes the person doing the cleaning stripped the tank of all organic debris including all of the corners and other areas where it could stick (like under the lips of the silicone sealant beads)...

As for the source of the frogs, the manager most Pet Cos do not order their animals from a variety of vendors themselves (example an individual store isn't purchasing from Cal Zoo, Underground and a board sponsor)... They are getting their animals from a central source that actually does all of the purchasing and the stores order at that central location and ships ordered animals to the stores. As a result, they can be sourcing their frogs from multiple vendors and your manager may never know... At least at one time, they were regularly buying and selling frogs produced from the known hybridizers...

some comments

Ed
 

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the Petco manager shared the vendor (a site sponsor), and is going to provide me their lineage paperwork. He has also been a hobbyist for many years and assured me they weren’t hybridized and were CB.
Vista Pet Supply is my guess. They're the wholesale division of LLL reptile.
 
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Appreciate these comments.

I saw a different vet this week. He told me he wasn’t familiar with amphiabians, but was already more prepared and knowledgable than the last vet.

He told me to discontinue the meds (except Panacur, which is just one more treatment in a week), and to diurese them in water. He said the Baytril Otic the last vet prescribed contains a debriding (?) agent which is likely irritating the frogs’ skin which is why they were freaking out. He didn’t think the skin bacteria was a concern since some bacteria will always be present on the skin, and thought treating for an infection was a bad idea since they weren’t sure it was causing the issue. He said if we knew the skin bacteria was def causing the symptoms, he could prescribe a non-Otic (ear) solution of Baytril, but that he thought that was unnecessary.

I’m glad I could discontinue the meds because it was stressing me out just as much as it was stressing them. However, I did notice one issue in the “healthy” frog, Bozo. He seemed to have an issue eating a FF. His tongue kind of got stuck on his nose/outside of his mouth. He had to jerk and use his hand (paw?) to unstick it. Is this normal?

I also noticed, he seemed to sort of jerk his leg around uncontrollably, as if something was on it. However, right now the substrate is a paper towel. I’m wondering now if the “seizure” I saw Skye have was the same sort of motion. Is this a sign of a vitamin deficiency or overdose? Or just normal frog behavior?

I reached out to Joshs Frogs, since they have a helpline. They replied and said it sounds like a calcium deficiency and that I could ask my vet for calcium gluconate. My vet won’t be in until Monday. Is Repashy RescueCal a better option?

I bought Repashy Vitamin A and am waiting to receive it from Joshs Frogs. Right now, I alternate Repashy Cal Plus with Zoomed Herpetivite (which has vitamin A).

Thanks everyone for your help!
 
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