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Thread: American Toad weird symptoms. New owner, need help

  1. #1
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    Default American Toad weird symptoms. New owner, need help

    Hey everyone,


    First of all sorry, because this post will be long. I've been a lurker on this site for quite a while now, but this will be my first post. It sucks that it must be under these circumstances, but I really need some advice here. I've had my 2 babies for about 3 months. They are both some types of American Toad, and one is only slightly larger (Terry) than the other (John) . So a few nights ago, it was feeding time and we couldn't find Terry. he's normally very enthusiastic to eat every night, so my fiance lifted up the tree hiding place that we have in their tank, and i happened to look away and when i looked back Terry was on the substrate, where he hadn't been before. I believe he fell out of the tree (at most a 6 inch fall), but my fiance says he was looking and that he didn't. I'm not sure what really happened, but I figured I would include this information just in case his symptoms line up with some possible injury :/. So when this happens he starts moving to hide again, except he is walking very strangely, like trying to drag himself and not use his legs right. We determined that he was in the middle of shedding, because we saw some skin coming off around his legs and he was doing the mouth-rubbing motions that they do when they shed. So we left him alone for the night.
    The next day, I wake up and he looks like this. (IM SORRY the image is sideways i couldnt figure out how to fix it)
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Whatever is in his mouth looks covered in substrate. So I took him out of the enclosure and put him in a bath, to try to figure out what this was. When it rinsed off, i could tell that it was skin hanging from his mouth. it looked like a foot or hand piece, with clearly fingers hanging out. Then, something pink emerged from his mouth (pictured). After some minutes it went back in, but the skin was still hanging out, and he was repeatedly opening his mouth trying to swallow it but nothing was going down. i looked in his mouth when he opened it and couldn't really see anything big in there other than his tongue.
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    There was skin hanging off of his legs, making it hard for him to walk. It was attaching them to his sides. So I peeled the skin off for him as much as I could, thus restoring most function to his legs. I ended up giving him another warm water bath after this, and peeling off more skin. I also cut the skin that was hanging from his mouth to reduce the amount he had to swallow because it wasn't attached to him. I put him back in the enclosure and left him alone for a while, and he didn't eat that night either.



    The next day, he still wasn't eating or moving very much, and he was very bloated this whole time but I haven't found any poop, so I thought maybe he was impacted and that's why he couldnt swallow his skin... so i thought maybe a honey bath would help. So i gave him a warm bath with a couple drops of honey, followed by a regular warm bath, and he didnt poop but some more skin came off. He seems to bob his head up and down very slightly, like he's still trying to swallow something. When I flip him over i can see there are still patches of dead skin attached to his belly.


    I put him back in, and now he's been buried in the same spot for 2 days. he isn't interested in eating at all. His color is lighter than usual. And i'm very worried. What do you guys suggest I do? I am at a loss here :/


    here's some other information that may be useful. I've been making some upgrades to their routine since terry got sick so i will include this info as well...
    -The 2 toads are in a 10 gallon tank. When i got them they were both only about a half inch. Now the larger one and he is about an inch and a half, and i was getting ready to upgrade them to a 20 gallon before this all started happening.
    -they were on a nightly feeding schedule, with their food getting dusted with Zoo Meds reptivite with d3 twice a week. They just recently got off fruit flies and started eating dubias and extra small crickets. (after all of this i am leaning towards switching them to an every other night feeding schedule, and I also picked up Repashy's Calcium Plus that i am going to use every night instead of the reptivite twice a week.)
    -they did not have any special lighting. we have a regular LED lamp that we turn on during the daylight hours to give them a sense of schedule. We feed them around 8-10 pm and shut off the lamp afterwards. I just picked up a Daylight Blue 40w bulb that gives off UVA, and today is the first day using it
    -Temps are around 65-70 during the day, and 60-70 at night. During the warmer months (we got them in July) it would stay around 80. Humidity is usually around 60%, and when i mist it spikes up to 80 and drops fairly quickly, so i think my meter may be off. Sometimes in the morning it is as low as 40 so i mist it up to 80.
    -water gets changed daily and we use water filtered by Brita.
    -substrate is Eco earth coco fiber. We did indeed have sphagnum moss in there (frog moss from petco. it was recommended to me by an employee there...now I know that that employee is very wrong and after i suspected that Terry could be impacted I took all of it out.)


    Any other questions please ask. i can use all the advice i can get here. If he doesn't eat tonight, it will be night 5 with no food. I really want my baby to be okay and feel terrible if something i did could have caused this ): ):
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  3. #2
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    Default Re: American Toad weird symptoms. New owner, need help

    Not sure if this will help but here is a photo of both of them when they were healthy. John is on the bottom, and Terry is the one sitting on the moss.
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Default Re: American Toad weird symptoms. New owner, need help

    This all sounds like a typical shedding. They'll puff up to stretch and tear the old skin, so that's normal. They'll be discolored as they're between old, dingy skin and the not yet fully exposed new skin. The hiding during the process is also normal since they know they're vulnerable all the while. (I don't think I'd want to do something like that out in the open either. ) They'll also be stiff before and during a shedding again, owing to the old, relatively dry skin being shed. The substrate caking onto the old skin is very likely depending upon what it is. That you can easily make a positive change of right away to help the little guy, so not a dire emergency as long as he hasn't ingested enough to impact his gut.
    Seems like he's just had a particularly arduous shed this time. Maybe change their habitat to help them avoid the caking of substrate on old skin problem but otherwise he should be fine once he's done.
    He actually looks quite good in your photos. Good color, robust stockiness, bright eyes. I'd say he's ok.

    Also, they'll eat less prior to a shedding and they won't eat again until after they've been done for a little while, nothing to worry about there either. And always leave them alone to eat their skin, they need it.

    Almost forgot, that "something pink" hanging out of his mouth is his tongue.

  5. This member thanks KP for this post:


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    Default Re: American Toad weird symptoms. New owner, need help

    Quote Originally Posted by KP View Post
    This all sounds like a typical shedding. They'll puff up to stretch and tear the old skin, so that's normal. They'll be discolored as they're between old, dingy skin and the not yet fully exposed new skin. The hiding during the process is also normal since they know they're vulnerable all the while. (I don't think I'd want to do something like that out in the open either. ) They'll also be stiff before and during a shedding again, owing to the old, relatively dry skin being shed. The substrate caking onto the old skin is very likely depending upon what it is. That you can easily make a positive change of right away to help the little guy, so not a dire emergency as long as he hasn't ingested enough to impact his gut.
    Seems like he's just had a particularly arduous shed this time. Maybe change their habitat to help them avoid the caking of substrate on old skin problem but otherwise he should be fine once he's done.
    He actually looks quite good in your photos. Good color, robust stockiness, bright eyes. I'd say he's ok.

    Also, they'll eat less prior to a shedding and they won't eat again until after they've been done for a little while, nothing to worry about there either. And always leave them alone to eat their skin, they need it.

    Almost forgot, that "something pink" hanging out of his mouth is his tongue.
    Thank you so much KP. I'm relieved that you think my Terry is okay. So should I expect their sheds to always take 4 days to go through? because it just seemed like a long time and I was under the impression that shedding happened relatively fast, fast enough for owners to miss it. I also thought it was normal for it to come off in one piece, so when I saw that it was coming off in some pieces that concerned me. thank you again :')

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    Default Re: American Toad weird symptoms. New owner, need help

    The other thing I'd add is that it's really important under normal circumstances that they be left alone to shed and part of his reluctance to eat could be the measures you attempted as he was shedding, not to say that taking the clump out of his mouth wasn't the thing to do as in this case it certainly was but the bathing and removing of old skin for him may have left him more tender than usual from a shedding since the new skin comes with the same kind of heightened sensitivity we'd have from something like an abnormally abrasive exfoliation treatment at the spa or one of those microderm abrasions people get.

    I know people don't like to do things au naturalle in the pet world but of all the substrates available I recommend using good, clean dirt which is what Toads of this kind live in. They burrow, and they love doing it, so if they can't burrow to their hearts content they need to be able to do that as much and as soon as you can make that possible.

    You should have as much of a larger tank for them as you can find and/or afford with a good six(6) inches of soil throughout for them to get as down and dirty in as they please. Drop their food onto the surface and they'll emerge at night to hunt it like they do in the wild.

    On top of the soil you can put large pieces of tree bark which they'll happily burrow under. They'll love you for all of these things.

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    Default Re: American Toad weird symptoms. New owner, need help

    This session took longer than it reasonably should have as I noted, now don't feel bad about this, but in part because of your help, and also because it began with entanglement in the substrate which of course necessitated your loving interferance. The skin won't come off like a snake's does, in one piece. It'll always have to be done as they can reach it with their limbs and push it into their mouths, so piece-bypiece is all good. They go through a whole lot of gyrations and contortions to get it all.

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    Default Re: American Toad weird symptoms. New owner, need help

    Aw man, now I feel bad for messing with him as much as i did hah, looks like i may have to regain his trust for a bit. one more question, I currently have a 20 gal tank that I would like to upgrade them to. do you think it would be ok to do it now, or would it be too stressful for him after all of this happening over the past few days? Should I wait to move them until he starts moving around again and eating like normal?

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    Default Re: American Toad weird symptoms. New owner, need help

    And you're quite welcome. I'm glad I found your post so soon. As I've indicated in previous threads, I have Tree Frogs, Hyla versicolor and Hyla chrysoscelis for the last few years but my early and longest-term specialty was Toads like yours of the Anaxyrus group. All I do with them nowadays is promote their increase in and around my compound but they remain one of my most favorite little creatures to have around.

    I'm sure yours will be fortunate to have you.

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    Default Re: American Toad weird symptoms. New owner, need help

    Good call, I'd wait a while to let him resume normal activity before another shake-up. That shouldn't take long. But be aware that you might not have prevented him from swallowing a hazardous volume of substrate so keep an eye on his behavior and seek medical help in the event that he doesn't resume normal feeding soon.

    I will say that I've never had a Toad with an impacted bowel so if others here have direct experience with this problem it would be helpful to hear from them right away, in the event you have to deal with that hardship.

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    Default Re: American Toad weird symptoms. New owner, need help

    Thanks so much, I'll try to update this thread within the next week and let you know how it goes

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    Default Re: American Toad weird symptoms. New owner, need help

    Yes, please do. I'll look forward to his progress report, thanks!

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    Default Re: American Toad weird symptoms. New owner, need help

    One final note about their eating this time of year, it will decrease. Compare their apetites with each other and they should be at least somewhat similar in their lowered enthusiasm and intake since as you know it's entering the hibernation season for them if they were wild. Also the variations in season conditions from year to year can bring on an earlier or later hibernation so take that into account with regard to their feeding responses these days.

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    Default Re: American Toad weird symptoms. New owner, need help

    UPDATE:
    So it's 4 days later and there is still skin stuck to him in some places. He still hasn't eaten or pooped. Still hasn't been moving around. He is keeping his eyes closed a lot now. I made an appt with a vet for tomorrow at noon. I hope everything goes well, thanks for all your advice KP.

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    Default Re: American Toad weird symptoms. New owner, need help

    Your decision to take Terry in for a medical professional to examine is the wise direction to go, I'm glad you were able to find a Vet who can see him, and especially in this timely way.
    Make sure you tell the Vet everything you tried on him, don't leave anything out, that is if you haven't already.
    I hope he can be treated for whatever it is and please let us know what the Vet says and what the prognosis and treatment are, will you?
    Thanks for that in advance.
    I'll be thinking of Terry around noon your time.
    KP

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    Default Re: American Toad weird symptoms. New owner, need help

    Hey,
    sooo here's what the vet told me. she said the biggest concern was most likely some type of GI blockage. She advised that i give him warm honey baths every day or even twice a day to keep him moist and warm. She also suggested that i could try and force feed him, she gave me 2 tiny little syringes and told me to buy meat baby food (like chicken or beef, for the protein), and to dilute it with a little warm water and try and get it in his mouth. the last advice she had was to keep their temperatures from fluctuating down at night, because the colder temps we've been having up here in Michigan might be making him want to hibernate.. so yeah it didn't go bad, but now i know i have a lot of work to do with him!
    I really want to separate my two until Terry gets better, but the predicament is I only have 1 light bulb and 1 heating mat (which wasn't even in use before now) and there's no good way for them to share the heat in 2 separate tanks. i should be able to come up with the money for more in the next couple days, but for now i just rigged up the heating pad on the water bowl side of the tank and really hope that helps enough til i can get more heat for them. I plan on keeping terry in the 10 gallon and moving John boy to the 20, and hopefully combining them again when Terry's feeling better.

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    Default Re: American Toad weird symptoms. New owner, need help

    Thanks for keeping up to the minute on Terry's condition. I'm really glad you got medical advice about him. Yeah it sounds like you have some intensive care to give him and it seems like you're up to it. From your pictures and your description I suspected that he might have swallowed more of the substrate than you were able to get out of his mouth. Regarding the temperature, I have to keep my Grays tank above 60 degrees or they start to exhibit behaviors leading into their winter dessication period. About the idea of separating them, if the Vet didn't tell you that you should do that you might consider leaving them in the 10gal. for this winter since they won't be as active as in the other seasons even with the heat and it'll be much easier to keep good heat in the smaller tank.
    Please keep updating this thread with Terry's progress, I really want to read about him pulling through this.

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    Default Re: American Toad weird symptoms. New owner, need help

    Do you have news of Terry's condition?

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    Default Re: American Toad weird symptoms. New owner, need help

    Yes, so not a whole lot has changed, he does seem to be moving around a bit more since going to the vet. He's still really plump, hasn't lost a bit of weight during any of this. We have force fed him twice now (with a syringe, beef gerber baby food diluted with warm water and with added Repshy's Calcium Plus and Zoo Med's Reptivite). We have been doing this every other night and will be doing it again tonight..He still won't go for any insect on his own so I guess we're just going to keep doing this until he eats on his own again. The temp in the tank now stays around 80 degrees, about 75 at night, we also got a fogger humidifier that we put in the tank when we aren't home. Kinda just hoping at this point that he decides to take a worm by himself one of these days, and i've heard that sometimes it takes months.

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    Default Re: American Toad weird symptoms. New owner, need help

    Quote Originally Posted by apr0705 View Post
    Yes, so not a whole lot has changed, he does seem to be moving around a bit more since going to the vet. He's still really plump, hasn't lost a bit of weight during any of this. We have force fed him twice now (with a syringe, beef gerber baby food diluted with warm water and with added Repshy's Calcium Plus and Zoo Med's Reptivite). We have been doing this every other night and will be doing it again tonight..He still won't go for any insect on his own so I guess we're just going to keep doing this until he eats on his own again. The temp in the tank now stays around 80 degrees, about 75 at night, we also got a fogger humidifier that we put in the tank when we aren't home. Kinda just hoping at this point that he decides to take a worm by himself one of these days, and i've heard that sometimes it takes months.
    Thanks for reporting on Terry!

    Well, it sounds like you're following the Vet's prescription. Doesn't seem like you can do much more than that. One thing I've found that seems to stimulate my Gray Tree Frogs' bowels is holding them in my palm under the faucet and letting slightly warm water run over them from around 3 inches to immediately above. The flow rate is very gentle and provides a very aerated shower. They're only slightly more inclined to water than the Anaxyrus family of Toads but when I do this they will turn their most relaxed shade of gray, and sit in complete calm for as long as I'll provide them with the service. A little Hydro-therapy at the Frog Spa, but seriously, it frequently stimulates a good bowel movement.

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    Default Re: American Toad weird symptoms. New owner, need help

    I like your suggestion, but I dont know if I could exactly do that because the tap water in my area is very contaminated so I have to treat all of it before I use it with the toads, so it would be a bit hard to shower him for that long out of a jug..although I would love to do that. For now I'm just gonna give him warm baths before and after feeding on the feeding days, does that sound like it would be enough?

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