Frog (and other amphibian) illnesses and diseases

Frog Illnesses and Diseases

(also may apply to other amphibians)

This is a page set up to help identify, and possibly cure an illness with a White's tree frog (as well as other types of amphibians). The information given is taken from books listed in Kermit and Peabody's reference area as well as personal experience and information e-mailed to me. The definition and cure for frog illnesses is still very vague. So please only use this area as a referance, rather than a cure. It is always best to consult a trained verternarian.

Quick Links to Diseases Listed:

| Gastrointestinal Disorders | Red Leg |Impaction | Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD)|
| Skin Lesion Syndrome | Spring Disease | Fungal Infections | Dropsy | Worms |
| Myasis | Stress |

Also check Dorota's Frog doctor page for more frog health infromation.

I am still in the process of adding frog health information, and alot of it will seem repetative. I want to have as many views listed on these illnesses that I can. As of right now, the majority of the information was taken from books listed on Kermit and Peabody's "reference" page. The subscript at the end of the quotes should be a link to the book that the information was copied from.


Here is some information sent to me from Lychele, relating to gasrtointestinal disorders and the current state of Lycheles White's tree frog "Georgia Peachtree":

I have some suggestions to people that have frogs that won't eat or have skin problems. First, ask you vet about sulfa baths if your frog has skin problems (your vet should give you the instructions or it should say on the product.) One more suggestion is maybe the temperature is too low and your frog thinks it's hibernation time. I'm not as sure about the second one but you should explore that possibility. The temp should be higher than 68 or 65 and not go higher than 80. It should also spray it with a spray bottle every so often so it's pretty humid. Make sure to use non-chlorinated water ALWAYS!!! If I think of anything else I'll let you know...
...we THINK Georgia is eating and her skin is getting better.

(6/2/97)"Georgia is fine! She's as cute as ever!.... Lychele"

Diseases and Treatment of the Whites Tree Frog

"White's Tree frogs are remarkably resistant to disease when kept in optimum coditions and any sickness that arises can often be blamed on some inadequacy in their care. However, misfortunes occasionally occur however hard we try to keep our animals healthy. Unfortunately, veterinary treatment for amphibians is still not generally available, though in some cases you may be lucky enough to find a vet that will be able to help. Needless to say, if any sign of ill health manifest itself in a frog, the sick amphibian should be isolated in a cage of it's own so that an epidemic among your frogs is minimized..." Pg.42

"Veterinary science with reguard to amphibian diseases is still in it's infancy and, unfortunately, cures for diseases are often 'hit and miss' affairs." Pg.29-30

Gastrointestinal Disorders

"Captive bred "White's" maintained under unsanitary conditions and imported White's tree frogs sometimes develope gastrointestinal disorders. Typical symtoms include water stools and weight loss. Diagnosis will require the help of a veterinarian for the proper diagnosis of the disease. Treatment however can be difficult since recomendedmedications for treatment may end up being harmful to frogs. Sulfamethazine (used for treating coccidiosis and other bacterial diseases) and Metronidazole (used for treating protozoins) are usually safe for use with with's tree frogs." Pg.19

Red Leg

"This is the most infamous disease of captive frogs and is caused by the parasite Aeromonas hydrophila. Symptoms include the reddening of the skin, especially on the belly and the underside of the thighs. Infected animals become lethargic and apethetic. Infected animals should be immediately isolated. If caught in the early stages, red-leg may be treated by immersing the infected animal in a 2% solution of copper sulphate or potassium permanganate. The use of an antibiotic such as tetracyclene may also help. Consult a veterinarian for advice about this lethal disease." Pg.30-31

"Red leg is a genral term for a disease caused by Aeromonas. Unsanitary conditions, prolonged exposure to cold conditions, overcrowding, and other factors that lead to stress contribute red leg.
Symptoms include listlessness, bloating, lack of appetite, and the reddish appearance of the underside of the thighs and belly, which is caused by enlarged and broken capillaries resulting in subcutaneous bleeding. Treatment with tetracycline administered orally at 50mg/kg twice a day should be initiated immediately. Additional injectable antibiotics are also recommended. ......." Pg.47-48

"This bacterial disease can prove to be rapidly fatal. Because it is communicable, isolation of insected frogs is essential. The pathogen aeromonas is often, but not always implicated. Cleanliness and suitable temperature regime will nearly always prevent this disease; conversely, fouled water or land areas and inordinate chill will assure its onset. Tetracycline hydrochloride is an often-used home remedy, but treatments performed by a qualified veterinarian would be better....." Pg.32-33

"When subjected to cold stress or if maintained under overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, White's tree frogs can come down with the classic symptoms of "red leg" a bacterial disease often caused by Aeromonas. Symptoms include: listlessness, lack of appetite, and the reddish appearence of the underside of the thighs, lower legs and belly area along with the enlarged capillaries"....
"...Administering tetracycline hydrochloride (obtainable in aquairium stores or feed stores) orally at a dosage of 2.5mg/lb in a solution of water with an eyedropper can be effective in treating red leg in this species. This should be administered once daily for 5-7 days." Pg.18

Intestinal Impaction

"If an overzealous frog ingests gravel or sand while feeding, intestinal impaction may occur. Small amounts of sand or an isolated small piece of gravel will usually be passed without any need for intervention. Larger impactions may require surgical removal." Pg.33

Metabolic Bone Disease (MBD)

"MBD may occur in amphibians that are provided insufficiant calcium and vitamin D3 additives in their diet. This is especially true in rapidly yound growing animals. The method of prevention is simple-feed calcium and vitamin D3 enhanced diets. The cure is less simple. Once sufficiently advanced to be observable, the insidious progression of this deficiency may not be reversable. Consult a veterinarian about injectable calcium treatments. It is possible that they will help." Pg.33


"DO NOT OVERSUPPLIMENT TREE FROGS! Once a week light coating of insects with a powdered mix of two parts calcium to one part reptile vitamin/mineral supplement will be enough. High D3 and calcium supplements if fed too frequently can cause irreversable and fatal kidney disease. Visible symptoms can include water edema of the limbs and body, and lethargy."

The term for this illness is "Hypervitaminosis" Pg.21

Skin Lesion Syndrome

"This is a disease characterized by open, usually bleeding skin lesions on the snout, head and back. When occuring around the eye area, the eye may be affected and the disease can reult in blindness. As with red-leg, cold temperatures over extended periods of time and unsanitary conditions appear to be contributing factors. Infected animals should be isolated and kept in sterile enclosures at warmer temperatures.... This may be a form of tuberculosis. Prognosis is poor though some animals survive often with various degrees of scarring. Some surviving animals become blind in one or both eyes." Pg.18

Spring Disease

"This is a lethal disease which occurs among certain temperate species during the breeding season. It is caused by Bacterium ranicida. Symptoms include a discoloration of the skin, lethargy and a continuous "yawning." At presant there seems to be no reliable treatment for this disease, though experimentation with antibiotics may be worth a try. Consult your veterinarian." Pg.31

Fungal Infections

Fungal Infections:
Due to the moist nature of their habitat, amphibians are more likely to suffer from fungal disease than any other animals apart from fishes, with semi aquatic and aquatic amphibians being the most at risk.
General Fungal Disease
Causes and Characteristics:The most common infections amoung temperate amphibians are those caused by fungi of various genera commonly known as saprolegnias, characterized by a pearly or creamy coating with a furry apperence in water and slimy in hand. The fungus Oodinium is more likely to occur in amphibians hailing from warmer climates and tends to be velvety and more yellow in colorization. Both types of fungi usually occupy small sores andskin lesions.....
Treatment: Fortunatly, treatment in the early stages by applying hydogen peroxide (dilute to 75% strength for adult amphibians, 50% for juvinile or small amphibians) to infected area with a small paitbrush will give you a good success rate..." Pg.161-162

"Rare in adults, but not uncommon in tadpoles and metamorphosing froglets, fungal infections manifest themselves as areas of inflamed skin surrounded by whitish threads. If untreated, fungus infections can be fatal. Caught in it's early stages,a fungal infection can be treated by immersing the tadpole or frog in a 2% solution of malachite green or mercurochrome for five minutes, repeating after 24 hours. If no improvement is apparent after three such treatments a veterinarian should be consulted." Pg.43


"Description: An abnormal accumulation of serous bodily fluids.
Causes: Possibly bacteria, but more so improper body metabalism. This could possibly result from an inadequate diet or poor climatic maintenance.
Symptoms: Bloating, soft dermal abnormalities, particularly around the abdominal region.
Suggested Treatment: Somewhat risky in the home. If the swelling in questioning is not overly large or is located eyes or any other delicate externals, it is possible to puncture the spot with a sterile needle, drain the fluid, and wash the wound with a mild cleanser such as peroxide or merthiolate. Since frogs and toads will rarely sit still for anyone, you may want to turn this problem over to a qualified professional." Pg.123-124

Ameoba Infections (Internal)

"Description: Parasitic ameoba invasion
Causes: Improper or infected dietary items, unclean water, etc.
Symptoms: Hard to detect without fecial samples. Heavy liquid intake, blood in feces.
Suggested Treatment: Should only be executed by a veterinarian, since the use of certain antibiotics is required." Pg.124


"Description: Internal infestation of tapeworms, roundworms, flukes, etc.
Causes: Varied. Infected foods, unclean quarters. Exposure to other infected specimens.
Symptoms: Listlessness,traces of said worms and/or worm eggs in feces, visual infestations in severe cases.
Suggested Treatment: Usually by the time you recognize this aliment it needs to be treated with antibiotics, and, in some of the more extensive cases, actual surgury may have to be performed to remove the invading parasites. When worms are suspected, a vet should be consulted immediatly." Pg.124


"Description: An external disease that involves attack on the host by maggots.
Causes: Tank invasion, possibly introduced by other infected parties.
Symptoms: Visible violation, especially around the head.
Suggested Treatment: Removal of invading parasites via tweezers and then immediatly cleansing and disinfecting of the remaining wound." Pg.124-126


Stress is a condition that may exist in all animals (not just humans). When dealing with amphibians, stress can be caused for multiple reasons, and the effects cans be deadly in cases. Instead of quoting from books, I thought it would be more appropraite just to list some areas that should be avoided to help your pet live in a more stress free environment:
2)Owner mistreatment:
-"loud" environment"
-constantly dirupting environment
-tapping on tanks glass
3)Crampt over overcrowded living areas
4)Improper tank set up:
-lack of, or too small of a bathing area
-lack of climbing areas
-lack of hiding spots (retreats)
-tank humidity too high ot too low
-tank temperature to high or too low
-lack of a "basking" area
-Having a tank with no "backdrop"
-it is a good idea to have at least one side of the tank with a cover
5)Light sourse being constantly on
6)Unsanitary living conditions
The symptoms of stress will vary from species to species, including eating disorders, behaviar change, increased possibility for disease, etc...

I have more disease information that I will add as soon as possible.

If you have any information on frog illnesses, or if you see something on this page that is "outdated", please e-mail me. Your help would be GREATLY appriciated.


Kermit and Peabody

...And on an interesting note: If your browser supports background music, you should be hearing Chopin's "Funeral March". For some unknown reason, this MIDI file makes Kermit "sing". Not his normal call, but just a few little "barks." Pretty amazing huh?

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