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Thread: Food refusal becoming serious

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    Default Food refusal becoming serious

    I've had my pacman frog Button since November of 2014 and I'm not sure how old he was when I got him but he couldn't have been particularly old. His species is a chacoan/cranwell's horned frog or ceratophrys cranwelli and he's roughly the size of a baseball if that helps. I'm not exactly worried yet but my concern is growing. I know pacmans can go a very long time without eating, especially when they sometimes start brumating when it gets cooler which I originally thought was the problem because he was at room temperature at 73 degrees and I got him a better heating pad not too long ago but he has barely eaten all summer and is still refusing food which is starting to get alarming real quick. He's pretty much outgrown crickets but will still take them sometimes. Otherwise he eats nightcrawlers, roaches, sometimes canned grasshoppers and occasionally thawed mice. He usually reacts to movement pretty well and sometimes he'll cooperate with forceps and even when he doesn't you might be able to force him to open his mouth but even that isn't working. With the heating pad and space heater now the tank is usually about 80-85 degrees and 73 degrees+ at night yet he still refuses food even though he seems to be getting more active. In our house we keep the air conditioning on when it's warm and I have the space heater in winter, usually with the house heat on so to him summer is probably more like winter and winter more like summer. He's still looking pretty good and hasn't lost too much weight but I still wish I could find out what's wrong. I wish someone would just take a look at him but it seems like most veterinarians won't do their job and see anything other than dogs and cats. I've seen terrarium animals refuse food until they starved despite everything before and I don't want to watch that happen again. I don't know though, maybe it's just his time, pacmans can live up to 15 years but sometimes as little as 5 and I still don't know exactly how old he was when I got him. Despite still being pretty round, two meals in 5 months is unacceptable even for an animal that can slow it's metabolism down considerably for very long periods. Here's a picture of him I just took a couple minutes ago.


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    Default Re: Food refusal becoming serious

    That is pretty serious. Has he pooped in that time frame? If so, how much? You can try a bath in warm(80f water) with 1 part UNFLAVORED pedialyte to 9 parts of the warm water. This will give the frog some electrolytes and hopefully some energy. This may help get your frog eating again.
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    Default Re: Food refusal becoming serious

    How humid is the cage? Maybe some bacteria is messing him up to? I can see a lot of humidity in the substrate in there? How often do you change him?
    About the heating pad is it in the sides or under the tank? Does him borrows often to cool down or not? And the heat pad should be on the side, not under if it's not like that already...
    Try the pedialyte as Bryce said, a honey bath with warm water(some drops of honey, water at 85-87F, 5 days in a row, you leave the frog in there for about 10/15 minutes) is fine for getting him pooping and getting rid of bacterias if that's the case, that helped mine to get back in track and this also relaxes the frog.
    You might consider putting him in a side container and try to offer him live food there so you can have a better idea if he's going to at least try to eat or not, you can leave him wonder in there for about one hour with some crickets running around without any substrate.
    Also, what kind of light cycle do you use? This had a major impact on my frog. He got better when the light is exactly 12H/D

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    100+ Post Member monster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Food refusal becoming serious

    If your frog hasn’t eaten in that long and your not sure about the age you should really bring him to the vet, if he has an internal bacteria infection cranking up the heat will not cure it he will need medication. And you shouldn’t put his heat over 85f for to long of a period of time because if he doesn’t go to his dish or burrow he could dehydrate. Even big time breeders suggest to not keep your frog over 85f, this is usually the max temp for these guys. Another possible problem is he may have contracted a parasite from a bad feeder because this another big reason frogs will stop eating. I really think it’s something inside because from the picture of your frog he doesn’t really look like anything’s wrong, without being a professional sometimes it’s really hard to diagnose a frog over the internet. I don’t know what else to suggest because again he doesn’t look sick from the photo, I wish you the best of the luck and hope he turns around and starts eating for you.

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    Default Re: Food refusal becoming serious

    Quote Originally Posted by daybr4ke View Post
    That is pretty serious. Has he pooped in that time frame? If so, how much? You can try a bath in warm(80f water) with 1 part UNFLAVORED pedialyte to 9 parts of the warm water. This will give the frog some electrolytes and hopefully some energy. This may help get your frog eating again.
    I think I've found some droppings from time to time but I'm not sure exactly how long ago. I haven't seen anything recently. A nightcrawler did get loose in there and is now living somewhere deep in the soil so I have some hope maybe he got hungry and ate it at some point. Otherwise the pedialyte bath does sound like the way to go. I'm going to try that. Thanks so much daybr4ke!

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    Default Re: Food refusal becoming serious

    Yep the heating pad is on the side! I do mist the tank regularly and I even have some plastic wrap loosely on top of the lid to trap moisture and slow down evaporation. I haven't changed the substrate in a while, maybe 2 months. I usually don't wait that long but since he hasn't been eating he hasn't really produced much waste to dirty it up and breed too much bacteria I would think. I did just get some new soil though and I'm strongly considering doing a change within the week. He doesn't have any artificial lighting right now. He used to for a brief period when I got him but then based on my research apparently they don't really need it and an overhead light can actually hurt their eyes. So I read at the time. However I'm in the room often and I'm always flipping on the light and there's a big window in the room for some natural sunlight plus the residual light from my bearded dragon and garter snake tanks across the room. And yes for sure I'm going to give him the pedialyte bath now and I think a little honey is a nice touch!

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    Default Re: Food refusal becoming serious

    Thanks cory! Bacterial infection is what I've been worried about the most and there's still some vets I could call. I'm about an hours drive from Chicago and if I can't find one here I'm sure there will be a reptile/amphibian/arachnid vet there.

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    100+ Post Member monster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Food refusal becoming serious

    You should really change out the substrate, that could be part of the problem. You should really not go any longer then a month without changing it. For the light if the bulb over head isn't to bright it is totally fine, but if the room is lit up enough that his tank is lit up that is also usually enough. When I just had my albino I would just keep the room light on for the 12 hrs of day she needed and she would burrow during the day and then come back out night when the light went off like they are supposed to so I know that way works if you want to try that for some extra lighting. And this was actually suggested to me from a lot of the long time pacman keepers that used to come on here all the time back in the day, lots of people have seemed to have left the forum. If you try the 2 baths suggested I would do the honey bath first, make sure its pure honey like the good Billy Bee stuff. Then do the pedialyte bath because you can use that bath to rinse the honey off. Hope some of the suggestions through out the thread help.

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    Default Re: Food refusal becoming serious

    Excellent! Thanks again Cory! I'll be doing all of this!

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    Default Re: Food refusal becoming serious

    Quote Originally Posted by Allthingswithscales View Post
    Excellent! Thanks again Cory! I'll be doing all of this!
    Yeah, lets us know i would suggest that since you're doing the honey baths change the substrat and do a deep cleaning in the terrarium to kill anything that might live in there other than the frog, then wash it really good with water before putting the frog in!
    Try to get the new substrate a lot dryer than this one, as it seems to me a lot of water.
    Also, if i were you i would give preference to live food only, and try to be sure how they're raised if you can, so this way you'll be sure that you're not feeding parasites to the poor guy.
    You said that you've the top cover? You might get it a little bit open so the air circulates, you can close the grid but not all of it, you can cover 2/3. In mine i usually do 1/3 so there's no condesation in there, therefore some of the water in the substrate is able to evaporate and the risk of bacteria growing is less.
    Nice frog you got there, hope he'll do better soon!

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    Default Re: Food refusal becoming serious

    Thanks so much Froghub! I really appreciate it! Everyone has been so helpful and I will do everything that I can I hope he'll actively respond to food by mid November.

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    Default Re: Food refusal becoming serious

    This is my experience so please take this as a grain of salt, it may vary from others. I have the same type of frog carnwellie. He was an eating machine for the first 6 months (got him as a baby) and then slowly started eating less and less until l he stopped eating completely. I tried everything to get him to eat (warm baths, clean enclosure, turn up heat, different feeders ect ect) nothing worked. He started doing this around December so I though maybe the season change was the reason and he would start eating again by spring summer.

    During those winter months, I was assist feeding him every 2 - 3 weeks so he would eat something. Its up to you if you want to do this or not. I did this because I thought he would never eat again on his own. Then come spring, he started staying on the surface instead of being underground all the time and started eating again on his own. So keep that in mind it could be seasonal?

    Others say change the substrate once a month, I usually go 2 - 3 months between changes with no ill effects. I do however mix/churn the substrate every few weeks to mix it all together again, as they usually sit in one area and it would be contaminated and hardly touch the rest of the enclosure. Again its up to you as to how often to change, but changing it sooner is always better than leaving it.

    If your frog is starting to lose weight, you may have to assist feed him. But this is not for everyone and if you are worried about hurting him then dont attempt it.

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    100+ Post Member monster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Food refusal becoming serious

    Quote Originally Posted by Sajuuk Khar View Post
    This is my experience so please take this as a grain of salt, it may vary from others. I have the same type of frog carnwellie. He was an eating machine for the first 6 months (got him as a baby) and then slowly started eating less and less until l he stopped eating completely. I tried everything to get him to eat (warm baths, clean enclosure, turn up heat, different feeders ect ect) nothing worked. He started doing this around December so I though maybe the season change was the reason and he would start eating again by spring summer.

    During those winter months, I was assist feeding him every 2 - 3 weeks so he would eat something. Its up to you if you want to do this or not. I did this because I thought he would never eat again on his own. Then come spring, he started staying on the surface instead of being underground all the time and started eating again on his own. So keep that in mind it could be seasonal?

    Others say change the substrate once a month, I usually go 2 - 3 months between changes with no ill effects. I do however mix/churn the substrate every few weeks to mix it all together again, as they usually sit in one area and it would be contaminated and hardly touch the rest of the enclosure. Again its up to you as to how often to change, but changing it sooner is always better than leaving it.

    If your frog is starting to lose weight, you may have to assist feed him. But this is not for everyone and if you are worried about hurting him then dont attempt it.

    If your frog wasn't losing weight and started to eat again in the spring you shouldn't force them to eat over the winter months if they slow down or go into estivation, they slow down there metabolism for these months on purpose. Frogs are built to withstand the shortage of food over these months, all my frogs go into estivation from around November early December and turn back up around april/may and start eating as normal. Feeding them during these months and disturbing them if they are in estivation is actually more harmfull then good, to be honest your not even supposed to change there substrate if they make the mucus sac around themselves because they aren't peeing because they retain all there water over these months. And they don't need to poop because your supposed to stop feeding them a couple weeks before and let them totally empty out before going to sleep so they aren't holding food and they cant go septic. These are crucial steps to conditioning them for estivation. And I don't even try to let mine estivate to be honest they just do it for some reason no matter what I do so I just let nature take it course. I believe some of them even though you don't change temps and humidity that they still sense the change in the season and the pressures and dryness in the air and do it anyway. A lot of people that keep assist feeding or messing with the frog in these winter months end up with a very sick frog in the spring or a dead frog and then are stumped to went wrong not realizing the frog was doing this on purpose. I'm not trying to knock your advice or say this is the case with your frog but if you do think this is what could be happening if your frog isn't losing weight during this span of time it is just better to leave him till he comes around. Sometimes instead of going into full estivation they will just go into kind of dormant stage almost like a bearded dragon, and if this happens you can still offer food like with a beardie but if he doesn't eat it he should be ok. Again I'm not trying to say your wrong just thought I would throw this out there so if it happens to you again this winter it is something to think about.

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    Default Re: Food refusal becoming serious

    Quote Originally Posted by monster View Post
    If your frog wasn't losing weight and started to eat again in the spring you shouldn't force them to eat over the winter months if they slow down or go into estivation, they slow down there metabolism for these months on purpose. Frogs are built to withstand the shortage of food over these months, all my frogs go into estivation from around November early December and turn back up around april/may and start eating as normal. Feeding them during these months and disturbing them if they are in estivation is actually more harmfull then good, to be honest your not even supposed to change there substrate if they make the mucus sac around themselves because they aren't peeing because they retain all there water over these months. And they don't need to poop because your supposed to stop feeding them a couple weeks before and let them totally empty out before going to sleep so they aren't holding food and they cant go septic. These are crucial steps to conditioning them for estivation. And I don't even try to let mine estivate to be honest they just do it for some reason no matter what I do so I just let nature take it course. I believe some of them even though you don't change temps and humidity that they still sense the change in the season and the pressures and dryness in the air and do it anyway. A lot of people that keep assist feeding or messing with the frog in these winter months end up with a very sick frog in the spring or a dead frog and then are stumped to went wrong not realizing the frog was doing this on purpose. I'm not trying to knock your advice or say this is the case with your frog but if you do think this is what could be happening if your frog isn't losing weight during this span of time it is just better to leave him till he comes around. Sometimes instead of going into full estivation they will just go into kind of dormant stage almost like a bearded dragon, and if this happens you can still offer food like with a beardie but if he doesn't eat it he should be ok. Again I'm not trying to say your wrong just thought I would throw this out there so if it happens to you again this winter it is something to think about.
    No worries I totally understand what you are saying. I am not sure if mine was trying to estivate as he didnt form a sac or anything like that. I didnt know he would start eating again, I really thought he was done eating on his own for good. Luckily my frog was fine in the spring and is very healthy. Knowing this now, I wont try and do this until I notice a drastic loss in weight, because now I know he should start eating again in the spring/summer.

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    Default Re: Food refusal becoming serious

    Thanks Sajuuk Khar! That's reassuring. That's pretty much what I've been trying to do and he is certainly becoming that much more active as I turn the heat on in the room. It is probably about time for a soil change though. I'll do that this weekend and maybe it'll perk him up. We'll have to wait and see.

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    Default Re: Food refusal becoming serious

    Good news guys! I have an update and that is after the special baths I've been giving button and cleaning out his substrate as you all suggested, I got him to eat an orange head roach tonight! Tomorrow I'll give him two.

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    Default Re: Food refusal becoming serious

    Good to hear. He may be wanting prey that move a bit more.

    Everyone should keep in mind that they can sense seasonal changes even if the enclosure remains stable. They will slow their eating when winter sets in, but this is not always the case. Every frog is different and I have some that eat year round and others that will go down for a month at a time even in the summer. Force feeding as was previously stated is only a last resort.

    Be sure to rinse the frog off after an electrolyte bath. I will also ask that you keep an eye on the frog's urine while being bathed. They will usually replace stored water kept in the urinary bladder when given the opportunity. Dark, strong smelling urine can be an issue because unlike mammals, their kidneys do not produce concentrated urine. Dark colored strong smelling urine could mean slight dehydration infection. Lacking in dietary supplementation or improper supplementation can also result in dark urine as water soluble vitamins that are not absorbed are expelled. Be on the look out for mucus in the urine as well.

    If the picture above is resent I would say you should not be worried yet.


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