Frog Diseases: Fungal Infections
One of the most commonly acquired diseases by frogs is fungal infection. The infections they acquire from stress or injury only come secondary. This can be attributed to their naturally moist environment as well as their habitat.
Fungal infections typically appear as white cotton-like tissues in thin tough materials that originate from the wound or an area where there was a previous injury. It also shows as an inflammation or a reddening on the said part of the skin. Other symptoms are lesions, skin sores and abnormal changes in skin color—not counting hormonal imbalances.
The most common infections are caused by these fungi. All of which come from various genera. They are as follows:
- Saprolegnias is commonly characterized by white or creamy, cotton-type growths on the skin and in some internal organs. They appear fuzzy in water and feel slimy in the hand.
- Oodinium is characterized by typically a more yellow and velvety color and causes a greenish appearance to the skin. They usually occur in frogs coming from warmer climates.
- Chromomycosis is characterized by rough, irregular lesions caused by various pigmented fungi. It tends to attack the skin of frogs and notably, mouth parts of tadpoles. This fungus is simply another threat to the frog’s survival because of its severe and lethal impacts to amphibians’ populations.
- Phycomycosis is caused by a variety of molds and non-pigmented fungi.
Fungal infections can be treated aptly if found at an early stage or as long as there is not yet too much of it attacking the amphibian. However, the underlying cause of the said diseases must be thoroughly considered, and it should be clearly defined and outlined after treatment as fungal infections tend to recur over a period of time. Your first option for treatment:
- Bring your pet to a veterinarian.
If a vet is not available, some of the following treatments could be options
- The most common method recommended is to submerge the affected frog in a malachite green or mercurochrome with two percent solution for about five minutes. Repeat after twenty four hours if the infection does not get better or no positive development seems to occur. If there is no improvement after three treatments, bring the diseased amphibian to a veterinarian.
- Another method of treatment which can be done is to coat with 8-hydroxyquinoline, an organic compound used as pesticide or antiseptic, with one part per 5000 every other day until the infection disappears.
- A seventy-five percent dilution of hydrogen peroxide for adult amphibians while fifty-five percent for small ones can be applied daily using a paintbrush.
- Use an anti-fungal tropical fish treatment product called Mar-Oxy. These are sold in pet stores with fish supplies.
- A sulfonamide antibiotic called sulfadiazine can be used to eliminate the bacteria causing the infection.
Particularly vulnerable to fungal infections are African Frogs. For this reason, they must be observed daily, keeping an eye on their tank and the quality of water they remain in. One way to do that is to feed them by hand in order to feel the frog’s skin and evaluate the water quality and temperature. African Frogs are more sensitive to medications than other types of amphibians and fish.
Sierran frogs are also one of the amphibians severely affected. The population of these mountain yellow-legged frogs had declined over the last five years because of lethal fungal infections. They have been allowed to recover but Sierran waters have already been harshly affected by fungi and recently become pathogenic. Researchers reported that this is due to the rise of industries that contaminated the air. Because frogs breathe thru the skin and fungi grows in the skin, they caused asphyxiation or difficulty in breathing—at some point, even death.
Frog populations have been on the edge because of fungal infections. Hundreds of frogs are found dead because of their inability to fight the said and aforementioned infections. Some frog species have even become extinct with its inability to fight off the fungi. Amphibians play an important part of ecological balance and this is the reason why the loss of their species caused an alarm throughout the world.
It is not yet known how exactly and specifically fungal infections are transmitted from one local area to another. However, it is a known fact that it is responsible for the drop of frog mortality rates in many states all over the world. Fungal infections are often considered minor infections in other vertebrates, but researchers discovered that they are completely responsible for large amphibian die-offs. Compared to other species, frogs don’t have a very resistant immune system apt enough to fight off fungal infections.
Until now, fungal infections are considered to be the prime suspect in the decline of amphibians’ population. With no developments in scientific researches just yet, fungal infections shall remain to be lethal in status quo.