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The frog doctor
It is with a heavy heart I have to report that our beloved frogtor has died. We frogs of course are devastated. We will miss him so much. He truly loved us. We could tell. My human promises she will have another frogtor, Michael Kiedrowski, for us to see if necessary. There will never be another frogtor like Dr. Wright. We loved him with all our hearts. We are so sad but we hope he is playing with all the frogs that left before this to go the big pond in the sky. God bless you, Dr. Wright. Love, Millie
No one wants to have to take their frog or toad to the frog doctor but sometimes its necessary, just like with any other pet. And its a good idea to have a frog doctor identified before your amphibian gets sick since its no fun to have to search for a vet that treats amphibians when your amphibian is sick. A veterinarian that sees reptiles, amphibians, birds, bunnies, ferrets and hamsters as well as some possible other unusual pets, is a specialist in exotic animals which your frog or toad is. Exotic at least for a pet. Veterinarians that just treat dogs and cats probably do not have the knowledge to address your amphibians needs. Just like dogs and cats, you might want to have your pet frog or toad have a well frog or toad exam every year to make sure your amphibian is in good health. Yes, its an expense you hadn't counted on, but you do want your web footed friend to be healthy and happy, don't you? But this may not be practical of course, especially if you have a herd of frogs and toads, but knowing who you will take your pet frog or toad to in the event he (or she as the case may be) becomes sick is a good idea. A yearly check up is preventative care to avoid nasty diseases and gives you a splendid opportunity to ask your frogtor questions about keeping your frog or toad healthy. In any case, whenever you do have the opportunity to visit your frogtor, ask lots of questions.
To find a frog doctor in your area, go to the Association of Reptile and Amphibian Veterinarians web site www.arav.org.
What if your frog or toad seems sick
(Sometimes we get sick. We hope you take care of us and help us get better. We really appreciate your help when we are not feeling well. Here is what my human looks for and what she does and you can do it too. Millie)
Despite all your good care, your amphibian still could get sick or injured. First, you need to decide if your frog or toad is indeed sick or injured. If you have observed your web footed friend you probably know his normal behavior. Any unusual behavior may tip you off that something is wrong. It is instinctual to an animal in nature to not show illness because it is weakness and makes them easy prey so, when they do display signs of illness, they may be quite ill.
Some symptoms that could indicate a problem exists:
1. Not eating. This must be a judgment call on your part because your frog or toad may slow down during winter months or he may be bored with same old thing. Try him on a variety of foods before you decide he's sick. If you do decide he's ill, take a stool sample to your frog doctor. If your frog is not leaving any stool samples, take the whole frog.
2. Listlessness. A formally active frog or toad may not feel well and becomes listless. Most frogs and toads are not keen on you bothering them and react by jumping away or some other activity that shows you they disapprove of your show of affection. But if your frog or toad hardly reacts to your touch he may be sick. And if he appears to have difficulty moving, this is a sure sign of a problem.
3. Soaking much more than usual. An amphibian in dire straights seems to head for the water when they are not feeling well. While amphibians love to soak which is of course how they drink, excessive bathing is unusual. This is especially true of tree frogs who normally bathe at night so, if your tree frog is constantly in his water bowl day and night, he might be ill.
4. Injuries. Obviously if your frog or toad is injured you will notice that right away. Perhaps they hurt themselves during their night time escapades or on a rough object in their habitat. Open wounds, deformed legs etc will be something you will notice right away when you are giving them exceptional room service every day. They like to hide from us and your frequent checking on them will most likely be annoying for a frog or toad trying to nap after a busy night, but it assures you that your amphibian is just fine and he can always resume his nap.
5. Finding tree frogs on the floor of their tanks during the day or more than usual. This is an indication your frog may not feel well and be too weak to climb.
6. Color. You know the normal color of your amphibian. If he is darker or paler than normal, things may not be right for your amphibian. Don't mistake this for their blending in talents but associate it with other symptoms.
7. Reddened belly and legs. This may be a symptom of the dreaded disease, aptly named, red leg. Gently press on the reddened area. if it remains red when you remove your finger, it could be red leg. If not, when you remove your finger the skin will be the normal color. It could be irritation from rubbing around in their tank or stress. If you handle your frog too much his belly may be pinkish, a sign he's not thrilled with your attention. When no longer stressed, his belly color returns to normal.
8. Sores or blisters. This certainly will alert you that something nasty is going on.
9. Yawning constantly. This could be a sign of spring disease. Frogs don't go around yawning when sleepy like we do so if you see this, it could be this particular nasty disease with no known cure.
10. No more messes to clean up. While this may be nice for you, obviously this is not normal. A frog or toad must eliminate waste or he will become toxic. He could have a blockage which is why it is a bad idea to put small rocks or pebbles in the tank since they can be ingested along with his food. Probably the frog or toad will also not be eating. If you suspect this is the cause of this symptom and it turns out to be so, he will probably need surgery to correct the problem.
11. Bloating. Amphibians can "blow" themselves up in an attempt to discourage enemies from preying on them but deflate themselves when the danger passes. If your amphibian is constantly "blown" up, he may be retaining too much water (edema) and needs to see the frog doctor.
12. Cloudy eyes or blood in the eye. Blood in the eye is certainly a cause for concern. He may have injured himself but often it is a sign of a generalized infection. Cloudy eyes are probably too much fat in his diet and over feeding. Domestically raised crickets can cause this. Feed crickets whole grains, veggies and fruit and no dog food. There is no cure for cloudy eyes so prevention is the best thing to do.
Chytrid. The dreaded fungus affecting frogs. This disease is contagious and your frog may or may not show symptoms. However, excessive shedding and "blushing" of the neck and belly and deep rosy mouth may be signs of Chytrid. I f you see these symptoms, have your frog seen by his vet so treatment can be started as soon as possible.
What to do if you think your frog or toad is sick
First of all, don't medicate your pet with human medications. They could be toxic to your frog or toad. Common sense and judgment calls are pretty important as to whether you need professional help. If in doubt call your vet for advice. If you take your frog or toad to the vet, put him in a carrier. Or, in the case of a large amphibian, a pillow case (inside an untied plastic bag to prevent messes a nervous amphibian may make while riding in your spanking clean vehicle). The carriers can be found at pet stores but have one on hand just in case. They can also be used as a holding place when you're cleaning their tank.
Dr. Kevin Wright, holding Raul.
(all sorts of information about exotics which includes frogs)