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Thread: A case of Red Leg?

  1. #1
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    Default A case of Red Leg?

    Hi Frog forum,

    This will probably be a long and unnecessarily detailed post, so if you want you can skip to the pictures and give your opinion on what happened.
    I recently purchased a captive bred 3-month old Phyllomedusa bicolor from a pet store and had it shipped to me (8 hour transit time).
    When I received the frog he was in a plastic cup pressed against the plastic sides and sleeping. He sustained a few red rubbings from the ride on his dorsal side that persisted throughout his lifespan. A beautiful frog, favorite activity: sleeping on leaves.



    Anyway I kept his tank around 80F during the day and 78F at night, with humidity averaging from 40-50%, proper conditions from what I've read for a Waxy monkey juvenile. 50W basking light during the day, and 50W moonlight at night, also a 13W Repti Glo 2.0 compact which provides the small amount of UVB essential for juvenile health. A water dish was filled with distilled water, but i never saw him bathe in it. Occasional misting with distilled water which actually should have been dechlorinated tap water to give him some critical minerals, but not a huge problem over this short time period.

    Anyway he adjusted well to the cage, changing sleeping position from leaf to leaf on most days. He was eating crickets gut loaded with Flukers high calcium diet and appeared healthy for around ten days. Then one morning I found him on the ground, on the maple branch I found in a park, that i sterilized in the oven at 250F for 3 hours, but didnt rinse with water or boil tannins out (is this the source of infection?) He went from blue-green to dark brown over night and lost alot of weight. He wasn't eating for at least 3 days before this. I removed the branch immediately.

    Ok, so i moved him to a leaf, you can see how skinny he is.

    After about 3 hours I got the unflavored Pedialyte to give him an electrolyte bath (1 pedialyte to 10 water).
    When moving the frog into the bath with latex gloves on, he was amenable to being perched on my finger. His motor control was not impaired at all.

    He made squeezing movements with his body like he was trying to absorb the water. After a 30 min soak, i transferred him to a leaf. He had filled out and over 3 hours turned progressively greener.

    So i thought he might be recovering. The next morning he was on the ground looking green and okay. Then after work i got home, and he had gotten skinny again, even worse, dark brown and on the ground. Tried to give him another bath,

    Not looking good. I tried force feeding him later on but his mouth was too small and i couldnt get it open. He turned very brown during the procedure..anyway I tried to put him back on a leaf but he could barely stay on it, motor control was pretty much gone. So i put him in the bath knowing he was going to die, and he was dead in the water the next morning.
    Here's his belly. I'm hoping its a clue to what caused him to die, i will call the pet store soon to see if the red spots are normal. The white spots are part of a natural coloration pattern as you can see in the first pic

    It got me reading about Red Leg in frogs, with a study published in 1903 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2124577/). The research said the frogs were infected with a baccilus some type of bacteria that may have entered through an abrasion, like the kind my frog had from shipping..but also Chytrid seems to produce a red leg sort of thing. Additionally, other sources say that red leg can be more nebulous like stress. But the deterioration in my frog was so sudden, overnight. that i think it may have been some toxin on the unwashed branch (that i sterilized in the oven!), kicking myself for not washing it..
    Anyway i sort of want to figure out the cause because i dont know how i should treat my terrarium with substrate, sphagnum covering, and live plants in it before i get another frog..plants and all substrate materials purchased from a reliable vendor..
    What went wrong? and what is red leg really...

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  3. #2
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    Default Re: A case of Red Leg?

    I can't really comment on the suitability of Maple as it doesn't come up much where I live, but can maybe give some feedback on the conditions.

    Temperature-wise 80F during the day is good, I'd drop it to 72-73F at night but you weren't miles away. With regard to the basking light, firstly I wouldn't use one but secondly 50w sounds a lot for what is probably a small cage? What temperature would it have directly under it and how is it controlled? Similarly 50w at night sounds a lot for the same reason, but also regardless of colour wouldn't it have been too bright to give a proper photo-period?

    I would use higher UVB, 2% is next to nothing and literally nothing if used above a mesh screen unless the frog can get very close it.

    Humidity should be higher. 60% or a bit more.

    The water, as you already said should have treated tap water rather than distilled as distilled water apart from having no essential minerals will actually draw minerals out from the frog when used in the water bowl. Fine for misting though.

    So POSSIBLY, I'm thinking too hot (under 50w light), too dry, wrong water, no recognisable night period for activity and feeding due to being too light could have been factors.....
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    Default Re: A case of Red Leg?

    Maple does have sap (think maple syrup) I wouldn't think a lot would be in a small branch that was heat treated, but it might have done something.

    Could it be the rubbed places on his side became infected? But you'd probably see redness and swelling there.

    According to some sources I've read White's live in a variety of places and should be tolerant of 50% humidity though that may be a little low. People can't seem to agree on the proper humidity, but I doubt the humidity would directly harm the frog much by itself. Unless it wasn't soaking which you said it wasn't. Hm.

    Seconding the thing about distilled water, but you knew that.

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    Default Re: A case of Red Leg?

    Thanks for the replies!
    Diver, you may be right about my humidity between 40-50% being a problem. Source explains requirements for juveniles, http://talkto.thefrog.org/index.php?...ad&topic=19976
    Juvenile Phyllomedusa bicolor need 60-70% humidity, adults 40-60%. I was going with the idea that these are high canopy frogs exposed to wind and lower humidities. The small size of my juvenile (1 inch) compared to the 4-5 inch adults is likely responsible for the change in requirements, going along with the lower temps (mid 70s during day, 70 at night).

    My consistently high temps of 78-80 combined with low humidity would result in drastic evaporation from the frog and loss in body weight, which cannot be estimated based on hydration appearance of the skin. This would probably be exacerbated by less eating and a potential cause of the loss in appetite. This source (attached) I found does a great job of explaining the relationship between frog temperature, body weight, and relative humidity. Suprisingly, frogs do not appear to absorb moisture from atmosphere through their skin even at dew point (100% relative humidity). They can only absorb moisture when submerged in a bath or when liquid droplets are on their skin from misting. Atmospheric condensation will not happen on frog skin, because despite being cold blooded, frogs still produce heat from their metabolism-its just easier for them to exchange heat with their surroundings, gaining heat through conduction, convection, and metabolism; losing heat from evaporation. Thus an increase in relative humidity will raise the body temp of a frog given constant atmospheric temp. Understanding relative humidity is also important. For example with my 50W basking light off temp is 70 (close to my room temp) and humidity is 60, but when i turn the light on temp rises to 80 and r. humidity falls to 50%. The same amount of water vapor is present in the air but because warmer air has a larger water vapor capacity, relative humidity falls-the source says relative humidity and not absolute humidity is the important factor for all known objects, including frogs. So thats some fun thermodynamics..

    This might explain why my frog sought shade in the day, hiding in a plant, the day before he lost weight. Waxy monkeys are known to be advanced frogs and juveniles seem to be even more sensitive to their environment. So the 78 at night was def not close enough to proper temp and may have contributed. In fact i changed the light from a 25W moonlight to a 50W moonlight a few days before this happened..the more i think about it the more this high temp/low humidity explanation makes sense..
    If i get another juvenile i will lower the wattage of the daylight, maybe not buy a basking one; and go back to my 25W nightlite which hardly raised cage temp at all. In terms of the ExoTerra Night heat lamp interferring with day/night cycle, the frog was def active at night and moving around..before he got sick anyway..
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    Default Re: A case of Red Leg?

    Hi, just to add to this your frog unless proven was not cb. A lot have come into the country recently as cb however they have been collected as tadpoles in the wild and raised in capacity.

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    Default Re: A case of Red Leg?

    Quote Originally Posted by poison View Post
    Hi, just to add to this your frog unless proven was not cb. A lot have come into the country recently as cb however they have been collected as tadpoles in the wild and raised in capacity.
    How do you know they are collected in the wild rather than bred at a farm out of interest?
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    Default Re: A case of Red Leg?

    Jeremy over at JL exotics let me know before purchasing the
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    Default Re: A case of Red Leg?

    If mynok has the breeders name or if anyone does that has been producing these for nearly every petsore in the states that would be very helpful.

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    Default Re: A case of Red Leg?

    The information I was given regarding the production of the P. bicolor is that they were bred at a facility in Peru (primarily a Draceana breeding facility). Obviously without witnessing it with one's own eyes it's impossible to verify, but the same must be said of the claims that they are collected as tadpoles from the wild.

    I would say that it probably doesn't matter. Nobody is claiming the kudos of being the first to ever breed this species in captivity (and if someone were making such a claim, it would be thoroughly photographed and documented or would be simply that - a claim), what's important is that these frogs appear to be disease-free and completely at ease with captive life. Very unlike the poor WC adults that die in huge numbers after being ripped out of the wild for export.
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    Default Re: A case of Red Leg?

    Hi, the reason I brought up that his frog may be wc is because being that it is a possibility parasites may have played a role. The two I got definitely seem to be doing great and acting like any cb frog I've had but if it's true that they were wc tads then this may have played a role in the frogs death just something I thought was worth mentioning to the op.

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    Default Re: A case of Red Leg?

    I see this is an older thread but I felt the need to reply in hopes to help out in the future. It seems to me that the problem is the distilled water. NEVER use distilled water, that will kill your frog, literally stripping him of vitamins and minerals...bottled yes, distilled-no. I was surprised that no one picked up on that.


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