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Thread: Help! Paralyzed Toad!

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    Exclamation Help! Paralyzed Toad!

    I apologize in advance for the long post. We have a wild caught American Toad. We've had her probably a little over 2 years now. We have her in a 10 gal aquarium with a screen top. Her cage stays at room temp (68-72 degrees F), and we have a small under tank heat mat at one end that raises the temp about 5 degrees in that area. She has a water dish, about 4 x 6 inches, and we keep it clean and filled to about 1 inch with spring water. The substrate is Eco-Earth (coconut fiber). We have a fogger that we keep clean and filled with distilled water, which runs for 15 minutes, every 6 hours. Her setup is bio-active. There are springtails and beneficial fungus in there, and we keep philodendrons and a tiny parlor palm. She has 2 half-logs she can hide under, as well as under the plant foliage. She does not have a full spectrum light (I've read American Toads don't need one?), but we have a pink/purple grow light set up on a smart timer for the plants that goes on at sunrise and off at sunset. She gets fed crickets from the LPS every other day, and every other meal, they are dusted with a calcium powder with Vit D, and a herp vitamin powder. She occasionally gets other invertebrates (when I can find them at the pet store or at herp shows), including mealworms, dubia roaches, earthworms, and Phoenix Worms.

    The whole time we've had her, she's been fine. She has her own little routine that she follows. She gets fed outside her cage every other day. When we take her out, we give her a little toad bath in slightly warmed spring water. When finished, she gets fed, and after that, we let her crawl around on us for a while, and typically she poops at this time. Then we put her back, and she hides in one of her logs. Sometimes she explores her cage or soaks in her water dish, then she goes and hides again. During the winter the last two years, the routine has changed a little. She's dug herself into the substrate and buried herself. We don't cool her off, so she doesn't go into true hibernation, but she does slow down. During this time, we dig her up every 3-4 days to soak her, feed her, and make sure she poops, then we bury her back in.

    This year, for some reason, she started her winter routine early, about 6 weeks ago. We keep snakes also, and they have winter routines as well, and sometimes their timing is a little off, so we really didn't think much of it. So we started digging her up every 3-4 days and doing the whole winter thing. She was fine. Then one day, about 3 weeks ago or so, my husband dug her up to care for her, and found both her back legs were paralyzed. They are completely limp, and we don't know why. When we first got her, we asked our snake vet if they see toads, and they said yes. So we called the vet to make an appointment, but we were just now told that they don't see native toads, only exotics, like fire bellies and such. They recommended I call another exotic vet, so I called that one, and they don't see amphibians at all. They recommended I call our local emergency vet. I called them, and I was told they can't see her, because she is a wild-caught, native animal, and vets have to have a special permit to see those. They recommended I call a wildlife rehab center. I called a few, but none of them will see her, because she is a pet, and they can't even tell me who might see her. So now we have a paralyzed toad, and no one will see her.

    Since this happened, we've been feeding her on her regular, non-winter schedule. We've added a little more calcium to her diet. We purchased a full-spectrum bulb, and have that on instead of the grow light, but she just hides in her log, so I don't know if that's really doing her any good. We saw somewhere online that someone gave their paralyzed toad calcium baths, so we tried that a couple times, but it didn't have any effect. I'm hesitant to give her too much calcium, since we don't actually know why she's paralyzed. It may have nothing to do with calcium at all. I've felt her leg bones, and they feel like they are strong, the right shape, and all there, as far as I can tell, but I honestly don't really know what I'm feeling for. Her legs don't look deformed, just limp. She is still strong and is pulling herself around her cage with her front legs, but she has a hard time with her water dish. She is still eating great, and she's even currently shedding her skin. Her eyes are responsive to light. She still pees and poops normally. She's alert and acting completely normal, other than her legs. My husband suggested maybe her hips are out of socket?

    If anyone has any suggestions on what we can do, I would really appreciate it. My husband is especially attached to her, and he's working on making a little skateboard thing she can pull herself around on, and he's talking about making her cage handicapped accessible. That's fine, but I want to know what is actually wrong with her and what caused it, so that we can hopefully fix it. I don't know if she'll ever be able to use her legs again. I know some causes of paralysis are reversible, but I'm afraid it's probably too late, if that's even the case. I can't get anyone to even take an x-ray to see if things look normal. And, I hate to even think about this, but if she needs to be euthanized, I don't know if we will be able to find a vet to do it humanely. Please help!

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  3. #2
    100+ Post Member Larry Wardog's Avatar
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    Default Re: Help! Paralyzed Toad!

    Many vets don't know how to properly care for the native amphibians because they are not trained with them. My vet saved one of my White's Tree Frogs lives but couldn't help me at all with my toads.

    Get a small bin and put a water dish enough to soak her in the water and then get a clamp light of a UVB bulb and place it over the toad for 4-8 hours. It might take a few days to see any results.

    Your toad going dormant is something that some toads do naturally and waking them up a herpetologist told me could potentially kill them from stress. If they come up offer food and water and keep the tank running just how it was when the toad left. It may be hard but let the toad rest for a while and if you need to maybe every 60 days check on it and carefully dig it up.

    What humidity is the toad kept at? Toads are not desert dwelling animals they like relative humidity like around 55-65. This will help them to be more active.

    You can feed them a variety of insects at a time like you would eat dinner. Crickets and Earthworms and Waxworms could be a great meal all at once. The waxworms are like fries you don't want to load up on fries they are a side so only use them sparingly like 5 would be good. If the toad goes dormant like this it will help the toad retain weight because waxworms are fat building. You can use butterworms and different varieties of crickets and the Phoenix Worms. Maybe it's connected to the diet.

    You can order insects at Josh's Frogs they are a high quality company and are very polite.

    Sent from my BLN-L24 using Tapatalk

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