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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Good morning all. Long time listener, first time caller. I recently acquired a 6 (?) month old Auratus black and green from a local pet shop in the ATL area on Sunday, Jan 9. I assume about 6 months because he's about 3/4 inch long, maybe an inch. I use he but am insure of gender. At the store, he looked fine. Upon arriving home, he was actually terribly emaciated. Per the advice of every frogger here, I had a fecal run on fresh matter within 12 hours of deposit and it was clean. I have attached images of the fecal and frog below, (I am blessed to work at a school with a retired vet with a Masters in Parasitology who was gracious enough to run the fecal.) I also isolated into a shoebox with paper towels, a bit of sphagnum and a disposable hide. He is eating but not hunting per say, he will wait for a fly to walk in front of him then strike.
My question is this: Is there anything I can do in addition to the steps I have taken to give this guy the greatest chance at survival?
Temps: Measured with temp gun. Day 71-73 F, night 67-68 F. No supp heating.
Humidity: <80%. Distilled water, pressurized hand sprayer. Calibrated hydrometer is placed in tank until reading stabilizes then is removed.
Tank: Exo Terra 18x18x12 living vivarium. It has been established for 1 year. Glass top with 1 inch vent on back. Front vents are open and uncovered.
Supplement: Brand new Repashy Calcium Plus dusted every feeding.
Food: Melanogaster FF, fed once per day (20-30 flies), twice if no FF are left on feeding station.
Lights: 1 Josh's frog LED grow light, (the one with multiple small LEDs) one Phillip's LED grow light 40 watt equivalent, very little heat added.
How Many: Solo frog now, has been in the viv solo for 3 months.
Behavior: Nothing unusual. Lots of hiding which I understand is normal for Auratus.
Touching: None. I scooped him from the living viv to quarantine in a clean, disposable plastic cup. No chemicals nearby, all are in attic or locked away (new foster parent to an infant so everything is babyproof)
Thanks for any input you can give!
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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Replying to myself: these are the comments from the vet:

Hi Josh,
I made two types of examinations of the fecal specimen from your dart frog. A direct smear in isotonic saline revealed no protozoan parasites such as Giardia or Trichomonas. There was no evidence of parasitic ova or oocytes (coccidia).
Microscopic examination of the fecal smear showed many exoskeletal parts--from food, I suspect, as you see below.

There were also several arthropods that appeared undigested, and I believe they are a common soil organism of the insect order Collembola, which I regard as an incidental finding, unrelated to illness. There were probably feeding on the feces.

There were a number of structures, which at low magnification might be mistaken for ova, particularly hookworm ova such as Ancylostoma sp.; however, at higher magnification, these were irregularly-shaped and not ova. Not sure, but they sort of looked like fat globules at higher magnification. Also, they were suspended at the top of the saline, near air bubbles, as I would expect from low-density material like fat. There were quite a few of these, and they made me wonder about an absorption problem--not able to absorb nutrients from the intestine.


I used a micro-pipette tube to run a mini fecal flotation with hypertonic saline. Again, no ova, oocytes, or other evidence of intestinal parasitism.
The partially digested exoskeletal material suggests to me that digestion is not a problem, but there can still be issues with absorbing nutrients.
(I almost wrote, "Thank you for referring this interesting case.")
I hope the exotic vets at UGA have some suggestions. I will be VERY interested to hear what they have to say, and feel free to share this information with them. (I know my ****, literally!)
 

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Collembola,
It may be that the frog was not offered FFs (it could have been in the wholesale pipeline for some time; you say that the frog was 'in the viv solo for three months -- I presume that means at the shop? They may have not been feeding a prey item the frog would accept), and was attempting to subsist on springtails.

Personally, as long as it is eating I would simply continue to provide dusted FFs. I don't know that there's any reason to feed something more nutritionally dense to speed up weight gain -- the frog may have some vitamin/mineral deficiencies too, that I'd be concerned to make worse by making growth outpace supplement intake. Just speculation on those issues, though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
That is correct, he was in the vivarium at the shop for three months, the frog and viv were a package deal. The springtail idea totally makes sense, as you can clearly see it in the sample. Thanks for the suggestion on feeding, I was considering extra small BSLs but will hold off for now until more weight is gained.
 

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If he is eating, keep feeding. That is a good sign. You may want to give him a weekly dusting of Vitamin A as well, as he is likely vitamin deficient, and it may be a reason why he is having trouble catching flies.
 

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Technically a negative fecal doesn't mean it doesn't have a parasite or parasites, it just means none were detected at that time and why institutions often test multiple times during quarantine, with that said given the condition of the frog it should be actively passing parasites.
There are multiple reasons for an emaciated frog, insufficient feedings prior to acquisition, inflammation from protozoal overgrowth, poor vitamin A status and/or viral/bacterial infections as possible examples. You can opt for the gold standard test for parasites through PCR testing or keep working with your vet. You can ask if they think assist feeding with Oxbow's Critical Care for Carnivores (see Oxbow Animal Health) would be of use in fixing it's nutritional status.

Some comments

Ed
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks so much Ed, I will be sure to talk to her about the Oxbow. This is a new to me intervention. I am aware that multiple tests are good but I also thought that surely the stress of moving terrariums in addition to all the other stressors would squeeze any parasites out. My vet did check for protozoa and did not find any so that is a relief. I will keep update as their condition improves!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Update: he is very active, exploring his viv and hunting flies. He reminds me of a cat, very curious and engaged with his environment. He is using every inch! There is a small dish of water and he soaked in it for about 15 minutes or so. I ripped out what appeared to be chickweed and replaced it with a pothos clipping and two (processed) orchids that I had from my collection. It seemed a better use of space. I also added some oak leaf litter as I understand that Auratus prefer to hid beneath it. I also ordered some Repashy Vit. A and will use that every day for a week and then switch to once a week to combat what might be STS. The vent on the back has cleared the excess condensation; however the humidity remains at or above 80%. I don’t have any ABG on hand but Repticon is coming next month and I will procure some as well as some extra leaf litter. The substrate seemed very soggy and mostly sphagnum moss.
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Yeah, every day is a lot, and also (and maybe worse) would displace the necessary vitamins/minerals in the Calcium Plus that wouldn't be supplied for that week. I don't think we know exactly what the right amount is, though.

I discovered when researching this that Vitamin D is harder than I had thought to overdose, but I have killed geckos by a probable overdose of Vitamin A over a period of months in a misguided attempt to remedy reproductive failures (necropsy was consistent with chronic overdose).
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Understood. Thanks for that save. So the best course of action is to supplement the Vit A once a week as per instructions, even though there are symptoms of STS?
 

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Honestly: I don't know. I do know that the highest recommended dose is 4x month; seven doses in a row seems like a lot, and if it is Vit A deficient because of problematic feeding history it is likely Ca deficient too, and a week of no real Ca intake doesn't sound like a good idea in a nutritionally sketchy animal.

Calcium Plus does contain sufficient maintenance levels of Vitamin A. But this is kind of intuition here, and my intuition is guided by experiences that others haven't had, and lack of experience that others do have.

If it is successfully catching food, and improving on that metric, I personally wouldn't push any one thing too hard. But that's just me. Whatever you do, please report back so we can all learn. :)
 
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