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Health Of The White's Tree Frog

A brief overview of illnesses and disorders

In general, this species is hardy and not prone to any specific health problems. White's tree frogs will live for
upwards of 15 years given ideal captive conditions. Ensuring health is as easy as maintaining a sterile and
habitat simulating environment, providing proper nutrition and monitoring the specimens for early detection of
any issues that may arise. While White's tree frogs are not prone to illness or any specific conditions, below
are some of the more common ailments that can befall the captive tree frog.

Red-leg Syndrome


Red-leg syndrome is an infection of the frogs entire body
usually caused by a stress weakened immune system
and a resulting infection.
It is speculated that the illness is caused not by a bacteria, but
by a parasite. The most likely culprit, an airborne parasite known as
Aeromonas Hydrophyla, is an ever-present organism, which only poses
a threat when the proper environment is not provided. Whether bacterial or
parasitic, if your frog is infected, most likely something is wrong with
it's habitat. This particular disorder is a fatal one usually resulting
in a slow process of degeneration leading to death. If caught early on
however, there are several treatments available. Bacteria can be treated
with antibiotics and there are remedies for most parasites.


The first symptom of Red-leg is a reddening of the inner thighs
undersides of the legs and then stomach. It is from this symptom that the
illness derives it's name. The reddening is actually the early stages of
the infection and will intensify as the immune system brakes down until
the condition becomes irreversible. Don't mistake the natural pink underside
of this species for red leg. Red-leg is bright Red while the inside of the side is naturally light pink. The next symptom that
manifests is lethargy. The frog becomes very fatigued, often not moving for
several days at a time. This is immediately followed by a sudden loss of appetite
and runny stool which is sometimes without pigment. After the infection penetrates
the epidermis it starts to move deeper into the intestines causing the
runny off-colored stool, and eventually into the nervous system. This is where
one starts thinking of how to respectfully dispose of the carcass. There will
be convulsions, seizures and the frog may run on one side of the head or lose
control of one side of the body.


Veterinary care. This is truly your best option as this is a very
serious disorder. I will however share with you the following e-mail
I received about four years ago from someone I only know as "Kay"
in regard to Red-leg.
Here's how I did it. I bought tetracycline for fish. It comes in 500 mg
capsules. I isolated my frog in a critter keeper with and incandescent light
60 watt on one end of the keeper. I left a shallow water dish for him to
re-hydrate in and changed the water daily. I left the water chlorinated to
allow the chlorine to add to the disinfectant action. If the ulcer is deep
or extensive, I would dechlorinate the water. I used white paper toweling
substrate to allow me to monitor the drainage. I put a heating pad on low
under 1/3 of the keeper (same side as the light) to allow a warm side
(I also put the water on that side) check to make sure it isn't too hot for
him. The initial soak was 2-500mg capsules opened into a cup of lukewarm
water. I took my guy and held him in the water for 15 minutes, making sure
the water reached the lesion, but also dripping it over his body. It can
absorb through the skin. I repeated this procedure with fresh solution but
decreasing the solution to 1-500mg capsule twice a day until I saw
improvement. The increased heat is necessary to increase the frogs
metabolism which increases the uptake of the medication. I left a fresh
tetracycline solution in the water dish to allow him to rehydrate in it
until I saw that he was eating again. Needless to say, when he quit eating I
felt he was going to die. The lesion was 1/4" oval and 1/8" deep with a
green/gray drainage. The lesion healed within 3 days and he started eating
on the second day. I was amazed that it worked. My white was fairly large
~3" snout to vent. If yours is smaller, adjust the dose down. My guy has had
absolutely no side effects from it and is healthier than ever. I did take my
guy to the vet and they ok'd the treatment..they did suggest that if the
dead tissue didn't slough by itself, to use hydrogen peroxide to debride
it..I didn't feel comfortable with that. The tetracycline works great..let
me know if you decide to use it. It worked for my guy!

Good luck. Wishing
you the best with your little ones.

(Me)- I have not yet used this formula but plan to do so if ever
the need to do so occurs.

Nose Rub


Nose rub is a condition involving the irritation and eventual infection
of the tip of the snout as a result of the frog walking along the edge of the enclosure or the screen top.
This condition can be serious if left untreated, as can any infection, but if caught early is really
nothing to fix. Initially the tip of the nose will be pink and it will look as if the pigment was erased
from the skin revealing the underlying tissue. If allowed to progress, the snout will turn red as infection
develops. This can also be a precursor to Red-leg syndrome. Prevention is easy: if an animal is walking along the
glass, simply place cut strips of construction paper and tape them along the soil line on the outside of the
enclosure. This will cause the frog to respond by attempting to jump over the perceived obstacle landing safely
on the glass.

Apply a topical antibiotic such as Bacitracin or Neosporin to the affected area. Be careful not to block the
openings of the nostrils, get in to the eyes or apply to the lip.


As mentioned previously in the housing section of the site,
one should not use any gravel, bark chips or small ingestable objects in
the terrarium since they can be swallowed and could cause an impaction.
An impaction occurs when a foreign material becomes lodged in the frogs
digestive tract.

A frog will appear slightly bloated, stop defecating and eventually become
lethargic and lose it's appetite. Once the frog has ingested the object,
it will immediately try to regurgitate it - usually ineffectively. This process
looks just as it sounds. The frog will move it's head back and forth with
the jaw open and thrust the tongue and mouth tissue outward as it tries to
reverse the process of swallowing.

Bring the animal to the vet. This condition is preventable at home, but not
treatable at home.

There are few other issues which are common in captive kept frogs. If you follow the basic advice outlined on
this page you should not encounter any other health problems. It is a good idea to seek out a local veterinarian
that works with reptiles and amphibians in order to make sure you know where to go if something comes up.
It is also a good idea to get your pet checked out at least once annually. If you are unable to afford it,
it's a good idea to really inspect the animal yourself and to continue to research at your leisure, proper
husbandry of the species.

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