Home | Reptile and Amphibian Health | Amphibian and Reptile Emergencies – Prolapsed Cloaca

Amphibian and Reptile Emergencies – Prolapsed Cloaca

A prolapse of the cloaca (the organ into which the digestive and excretory systems empty, and which houses the penis) is a situation that most herp keepers face at one point or another.  I have observed it most commonly in frogs, less so in salamanders and reptiles.  In a prolapse, the cloaca protrudes through the anus, and is dragged about behind the animal.  If untreated, the tissue dries out and becomes necrotic (basically, the tissue dies).  A veterinarian may be able to remove the organ, but often the animal cannot be saved at this point.

A cloacal prolapse should be treated immediately upon discovery.   A long-established and often effective measure that you can take is to place the afflicted animal in a shallow bath of sugar water.  The amount of sugar is not very important – go with 1 tablespoon per 3 ounces of water if you prefer to measure.  The sugar will draw fluids from the cloaca, allowing the animal to withdraw the organ.  You can assist with a Vaseline-coated cotton swab.

If this does not help within 20 minutes, your pet should be taken to a veterinarian (a follow-up visit is a good idea even if you are successful).  It is important that you then look at the conditions that may have led to the prolapse – dehydration, constipation, straining to expel eggs and trauma caused by scent marking (rubbing the cloaca along the substrate) – are most common.  Of course, environmental conditions must be evaluated with each species’ biology in mind – conditions that are suitable for a White’s Treefrog may cause dehydration in a Budgett’s Frog, for example.

Please write in if you have encountered this condition among your pets, and I will try to help in finding the root of the problem.  Thanks, until next time, Frank.

You can read an excellent article on other amphibian emergencies at the web site of the Arizona Exotic Animal Hospital:
http://www.azeah.com/Care-Sheets.asp?id=97

Until Next Time,

Frank

132 comments

  1. avatar

    Hi,
    I have breeded tiger-leg-monkeyfrog Phylomedusa hypochondrialis. After metamorphosis, the froglets suffer (about 20% of them) by cloaca prolaps, which is lethal at this age. They are now about 20-30 mm long, and healthy, if they dont have this problem. I feed with drossphila flies and small crickets dusted with Reptivite.
    Could this be a parasite infestation?
    Thanks for reply

  2. avatar

    Hi Rudi,

    Frank Indiviglio here. Thanks for your question.

    I would say there’s a good chance parasites are involved, as it would be unusual for 20% of your frogs to be afflicted due to straining or other such causes. It may be that the particular organism is not present in high numbers, or is not particularly lethal, as older frogs are not affected.

    I suggest you submit fecal samples (adults and froglets) for analysis; speak with your veterinarian also, as a cloacal wash or water sample might be useful as well. I have a list of experienced veterinarians…please let me know if you need a reference.

    Good luck, please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio

  3. avatar

    Hi, my white tree frog developed a prolasps just yesterday evening. I looked into this and found this link of yours. I tried the water and sugar which after a couple of hours nothing happened, so i thought i would help try to put it back into the body gently with a moist ear cotten tip and was successfull in putting it back. I am keeping a eye on the frog to see how it is over the next few days. the frog seems alert and has gone back up into the bushes, so i will come back here to give some update on condition of it. If you have experience anyone doing this operation i would like to hear about how there frog got on and survived.

    best wishes

    terri and fraggle the tree frog

  4. avatar

    Hello Terri,

    Frank Indiviglio here. Thanks for your interest in our blog.

    The fact that the prolapse has not recurred is a good sign, and my compliments on your veterinary skills! Since the sugar had no effect, it’s likely that trauma (forcing a bowel movement perhaps) and not disease was the cause, although there really is no accurate way to be sure at this point.

    The prolapsed tissue may remain inside and heal, but its very important that you do not feed the frog for 10 days or so…this will not be a problem if the animal has been feeding regularly up to this point (White’s are well adapted to food shortages/storage; even a large adult needs only 6 crickets or so a week to maintain weight). The first meal should be small and soft – a small earthworm, if available, or a cricket with the rear legs removed.

    You should also spray the frog with water 1-2 x day, and keep the terrarium and water bowl extra clean to avoid the possibility of infection. If possible, it would be useful to set the animal up in a bare enclosure – wet paper towel substrate, PVC pipe or other easily cleaned material as a perch – so that it can be easily cleaned; bacteria and other pathogens that might normally be fairly benign can cause problems at times such as this.

    If the prolapse recurs, you’ll need to bring the frog to a vet…a single, temporary stitch in the cloaca will likely be necessary. It’s important that you choose a doctor with amphibian experience, as there are a number of concerns – infection, trauma – when stitching frog skin. I may be able to provide a reference…please let me know if you might need that.

    Please write back with some details concerning the frog’s environment – temperature, moisture/humidity levels, substrate – and diet, as each of these can have a bearing on the problem.

    You’re off to a good start, good luck.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  5. avatar
    Paula _ Yoda the Frog

    Hi, My white’s tree frog developed a prolapse yesterday.I found you advice very useful and put him in a sugar bath for about 40 mins and it reduce slightly. I then gently managed to push most of the protrusion back using a cotton bud, but the tip of the organ is still outside his body. I left him overnight in a very moist bare cricket keepe, He seems quite bright today, but do not know if I should retry the process again. This little fellow is not having much luck, he has just recovered a front leg fracture and was hospitalised by the vet any further advise would be welcomed.

  6. avatar

    Hello Paula, Frank Indiviglio here. Thanks for your interest in our blog.

    If the entire prolapse did not remain inside the body on the first try, I suggest you have your vet look at the frog. It may need a stitch to hold the organ in place until it heals (usually 7-10 days).

    Until then, keep the frog on clean, damp paper towels…its important to keep the tissue moist, so it’s better not to provide a perch or branch. Change the paper towels often, as infection is a real concern with exposed tissue. Do not feed the frog until cleared by your vet (a bowel movement at this point may worsen the condition).

    Fractures are not common…unless a real trauma was involved, such makes me think that perhaps the frog needs more calcium in its diet, or a different form of calcium. You might question your vet about this…a blood test would be useful.

    Please let me know some details about the frog…diet, supplements, age, temperature of terrarium etc; perhaps I can offer some further advice. I’d appreciate your letting me know how the situation resolves, as this will help in accessing similar problems in the future.

    Good luck,

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  7. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Good news, the protruding tip has now gone back inside. And he looks ok. Will keep him in the cricket house for a few days with no food but plenty of moisture, inside the varvarium.

    His previous problem, the vet advised was due to calcium deficiency, he is only a young frog no more than 4 months. He is now kept at 26-28c day time and 18c night time. Humidity between 60-80%. With low watt full spectrum UV light to help the calcium levels. Feed on crickets and wax worms with dusting of calcium powder before they go into the Vivarium. <the crickets are fed on cricket food water pellets and bran. He hasnt had much luck and has been tube fed by the vet to bring him up to scatch. He was doing really well over christmas then this. Maybe he over eat some of the bigger crickets, he has been leaving stools. Thats the update on Yoda hope he doesnt go to the dark side just yet my little boy would be so sad. Thanks for advise.

    Best regards

  8. avatar

    Hello Paula, Fran k Indiviglio here.

    Glad to hear that the tissue has receded. I suggest you withhold food for at least 7 days, and stay with 1/2 grown crickets after that (smaller insects are always preferable in any event, less indigestible material).

    Calcium deficiencies increase prolapse likeihood because, without proper calcium levels, the muscles often cannot contract with enough force to expel the feces, causing the animal to strain and expel the cloaca in the process. Calcium Guconate injections are often very useful…you may wish to bring that up with your vet. Tubefeeding soft foods (and calcium) is sometimes desirable..a plastic spoon is useful in opening the mouth, please write back if you need further details.

    White’s treefrogs largely rely on dietary calcium sources, so the full spectrum light is likely not going to help. Be careful that the frog does not spend too much time near it, as corneal problems have been documented in a number of other treefrogs in similar situations.

    Let the crickets feed for 48 hours or more before offering to your frog, and coat (or crush together ) their food with Rep-Cal or a similar product to increase the calcium content of the cricket’s diet. You might also add some variety to the diet (limit waxworms to every 1 days or so) …earthworms and sow bugs (isopods) are a good calcium source, as are gut-loaded roaches.
    Canned grasshoppers and silkworms can also be offerred from tongs.

    Good luck, please be in touch if you need any further information,
    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio

  9. avatar

    so, currently my bearded dragon, is experiencing one of these. And you said it’s quite rare in lizards? what’s the chance of him recovering from this?

  10. avatar

    Hello Stephanie, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog.

    The condition is more commonly encountered in amphibians, but I have seen it in lizards and other reptiles as well. The treatment is as described for amphibians…veterinary assistance is best sought after emergency first aid has been given. Usually the prognosis is good, assuming the prolapse is repaired and any infection is treated promptly.

    Good luck with your bearded dragon, and please be in touch if you need further information.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  11. avatar

    I have 2 Sulcata tortoises. For over a year now, after they have intercourse, I find a very large puddle of thick red blood. He is about 50 lbs. She is about 40 lbs. I don’t know which one it is coming from. They both are eating and don’t act like anything is wrong. I couldn’t find anything on the internet about this. Then I found one article which said this could be prolapsed cloacea.

  12. avatar

    Hello, Frank Indiviglio here. Thanks for your interest in our blog.

    Typically, a prolapsed cloaca or hemipenes will protrude from the vent and be visible. However, there could very well be an internal injury to either animal, which is aggravated by copulation. Blood might also be associated with an infection within the male’s reproductive tract, although the amount released is usually not so much as you describe.

    The only way to diagnose the problem would be via a radiograph or ultra-sound at a veterinarian’s office.

    I suggest you separate the pair until the problem has been resolved, as repeated injuries will only worsen the condition.

    Spur-thighed tortoises are often difficult to house in pairs. In the wild, females move off after breeding, but in captivity they are often harassed continually when kept with males. I can’t say that I have seen this lead to internal injuries, but it might be a possibility. A pair of 80 pounders that I kept could not co-exist even in a ½ acre outdoor zoo exhibit!

    Please keep me posted…I have not run across this problem and am very interested to learn the diagnosis.

    Good luck and best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  13. avatar

    Hi, yesterday I noticed a native frog from my neighbours yard had prolapse. I was pretty concerned for the frog and have placed it in a container with unchlorinated water and honey (without touching the frog). The intestines haven’t gone back in yet… I haven’t tried the q-tip method and don’t know if I should.
    The frog is wild and I would like to do what I can for it, but obviously I don’t want it to suffer especially if it is unlikely to survive, or be able to return to the garden.

    What should I do?

    If you think its worth persevering, what do I need to do to keep the frog comfortable and free from infection? I don’t know much about looking after frogs, except that hygiene is important. So far I have been covering my hands with plastic when moving it, and changing its container and water.

  14. avatar

    just to add, my neighbours have been remodelling their garden…could this have stressed the frog out and caused it to prolapse?

  15. avatar

    Hello Chris, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog and your concern for the injured frog. Your efforts are very admirable. You are taking all the right steps.

    Unfortunately, if the prolapse did not shrink after the honey treatment, it may need to be manually replaced. This is best done by a veterinarian, or a wildlife rehabilitator or hobbyist who has had experience with the procedure. Before attempting this yourself, you might try contacting a rehabilitator – they usually have connections with local veterinarians who treat injured wildlife on a volunteer basis. The National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association maintains a state by state list.

    You can also try contacting a local herpetological society…members may have had experience with this situation, or could refer you to a veterinarian. If you need help in locating one near you, please let me know in which state you are located and I’ll provide a link.

    The Reptile Dept. of your local zoo or a nature canter may also be able to help.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  16. avatar

    Hello Chris, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your follow-up note. Unfortunately, we know little about injuries in wild amphibians, as most do not survive long enough to be found and studied. I suspect that a prolapse in a wild frog would be a result of a disease and/or parasite problem, whereas diet and breeding concerns are more common in captive situations.

    Construction could certainly stress the animal, but would not likely cause a prolapse. However, what appears to be a prolapse might actually be a trauma-related injury, i.e. if the frog were crushed by debris.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  17. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    I didn’t get a chance to take the frog anywhere, the poor thing didn’t make it through the night.

    Thanks for all your advice,
    Chris

  18. avatar

    Hello Chris, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Sorry to hear the news but you did everything correctly and certainly showed a great deal of compassion. It is nice to know that people such as yourself are looking out for wildlife.

    Amphibian medicine is barely out of its infancy – even in zoos, with well experienced veterinarians, the prognosis for most maladies is not very good. Hope some healthy frogs or toads come through your yard this season!

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  19. avatar

    Hello, I have 2 rankins dragons and after reading this blog I believe that my male might have a prolapsed Cloaca(not sure what it would look like), A few days ago I thought he just had feces stuck to his bottom and gave it no thought but when I noticed the next day that it was still there I called several pet stores which offered no help and there are no herp vets near. I can’t see it anymore, however when he was trying to mate today something happened and I noticed blood on the side of the tank and clotted with sand around the cloaca. I cleaned him up and there seems to be no constant bleeding, but am not sure what to do…or if this could be something else possibly. I am recently layed off (i.e broke)but want the best for my little friend…is there something I can do for him?

    Thanks in advance
    Christopher

  20. avatar

    Hello Christopher, Frank Indiviglio here. Thanks for your interest in our blog.

    The prolapse would appear as pink, moist tissue, but accumulated feces could make it difficult to distinguish. If the animal had been mating, it is probable that an everted hemipenes (male sexual organ) was involved – this would more likely be withdrawn back into the body, as seems to be the case with your pet, than would a prolapsed cloaca. Sometimes the hemipenes becomes cut or bruised during mating, especially if it is not withdrawn quickly or the female pulls away.

    I suggest you split the pair to prevent further mating attempts and give the organ a chance to heal. If the hemipenes remains inside the body and an infection has not set in, it could very well heal without assistance. However, if the animal becomes lethargic or ceases feeding, an infection may be present and antibiotics would be required. If the problem was with the cloaca, and it prolapses again, you can try the technique described in this article. However, a veterinary visit would be your safest option.

    Please be in touch if you need further information.

    Good luck and best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  21. avatar

    I have an albino RETF that now has had two prolapses in about 1 month timeframe. The humidity is fairly high (90-99%) at all times and after the first time this happened I started feeding smaller crickets. I have also treated for worms and the substrate is reptile bark. Any causes that you can think of?

  22. avatar

    Hello John, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog.

    Unfortunately, once a prolapse occurs, the animal is often left vulnerable to relapse, even if the original cause has been addressed. This is especially true if a stitch was not put in to while the original injury healed (not always possible, especially with small frogs). Routine follow-up fecal tests would be useful, however, to rule out parasites.

    Red-eyed treefrogs seem very sensitive to food size…I always feed them ¼ inch crickets, even though they can take larger prey. I would space your frog’s meals 3-4 days apart, and err on the side of too little as opposed to too much food (try 3 ¼” crickets per meal, for a total of only 6 per week, to start…they really do not need all that much food). Lab-raised houseflies make a good alternative diet, either to supplement or replace crickets. Cultures (including wingless strains) are available via inter net dealers or biological supply houses.

    Red-eyed treefrogs favor soft, flying insects, and digest these well. You might consider collecting small midges, moths and the like – the Zoo Med Bug Napper Trap is useful in this regard. “Inchworms” and other small, smooth (but not hairy) caterpillars, when available, are also fine.

    Good luck and please keep me posted,

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  23. avatar

    Thanks for the quick response. The first time a stich was added for 5 days….this time it will be left in for 7 days just to see. He has been dewormed but I will see if the vet does fecal tests for these guys. I have tried to feed my red eyes different types of food; mealworms, waxworms, flies, and moths but none have ever been interested in them. Again thanks for the advice.

  24. avatar

    Hello John, Frank Indiviglio here. Thanks for the feedback. I apologize for the long delay in responding to you…an emergency surgery put me out of commission for a time.

    I believe that there is a weakness left in the area, based on the fact that stitches were tried. Hopefully the longer healing time on this attempt will have a good effect.

    Very interesting to hear that they would not take either flies or moths, as these are often favorites. I’d stay away from mealworms, even newly molted ones, and use very small wax worms (suspend in cups) only on occasion.

    Small live silkworms are worth a try…a few dealers sell them via the net, complete with artificial food.

    Good luck and please keep me posted on both issues if you have a chance.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  25. avatar

    I HAVE A BLACK AND WHITE COLUMBIAN TEGUS, I NOTICED THIS MORNING THAT HE HAS A PROLAPSED HAPPENING, I CALLED MY VET, AND I CAN ONLY GET HIM IN TOMORROW MORNING, WHAT CAN I DO FOR HIM OVER NITE SO THAT HE WILL BE OK.
    THANK YOU

  26. avatar

    HELLO, I HAVE A BLACK AND WHITE COLUMBIAN TEGUS, AND I THINK THAT HE IS EXPERIENCING A PROLAPSED CLOACA, I CAN ONLY BRING HIM INTO THE VET TOMORROW MORNING, WHAT CAN I DO FOR HIM OVERNIGHT, TO HELP HIM OUT?

  27. avatar

    Hello Tiffany, Frank Indiviglio here. Thanks for your interest in our blog.

    Adult tegus are a bit difficult to treat due to their size. If it is a small animal, you can soak as described in the article and then replace the substrate in its terrarium with damp paper towels. The animal may shred them etc., but it is important to keep soil and wood chips from adhering to the prolapsed area and to keep the organ moist. You can also mist the organ with water from time to time to keep it moist.

    For a larger animal, its best to get help to restrain it while you spray or pour water over the prolapsed area to rid it of any accumulated bark, soil, etc. Try also to provide a wet paper towel substrate, and spray the area if possible.

    Trying to nudge the prolapse back in as described in the article is tricky, especially with a vigorous lizard, but may be worth a try if you feel you’re able. In all cases be sure the animal is well-restrained so that you do not get bitten.

    Putting the tegu into a dark location ASAP is also useful, as this may slow down its activity and prevent further injury.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  28. avatar

    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THAT INFO, I MUST SAY THAT FIRST OFF, I WAS SO NERVOUS ALL DAY YESTERDAY, THAT I SAID I HAVE A COLUMBIAN TEGU, BUT I HAVE A ARGENTINE TEGU, I NOTICED AFTER, THAT I WROTE IT WRONG. AS SOON AS I GOT HOME LAST NIGHT, MY LIZARD ACTUALLY CONTRACTED IT BACK IN HIM SELF. WE MONITORED HIM ALL NIGHT, AND BROUGHT HIM TO THE VET THIS MORNING. THE VET SAID THAT HE LOOKS FINE, AND HEALTHY, HE TOOK SOME BLOOD WORK, SO WE WILL HEAR SHORTLY FOR THOSE RESULTS. ALL IN ALL, HE IS DOING GREAT. I WANT TO THANK YOU AGAIN, FOR YOUR KNOWLEDGE, IT WAS GREAT TO SEE ALL THE INFO THAT YOU PROVIDE FOR EVERYONE, THANKS AGAIN,
    TIFFANY

  29. avatar

    Hello, Frank Indiviglio here. Thanks so much for your kind comment and the update.

    If you have a male tegu, it may have been the hemipenes (male sexual organ) that you saw and not a prolapsed cloaca…however, you acted prudently in bringing the animal to a veterinarian. Male lizards and turtles sometimes evert the hemipenes for no apparent reason (well, no reason that is apparent to me, anyway!). They are usually able to withdraw the organ on their own, although sometimes a prolapse-like situation develops.

    I look forward to receiving your observations, comments and questions in the future.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  30. avatar

    I have a Southern Toad that seems to be suffering from that right now.

    The tissue is still pink and definitely alive so we’re soaking him in sugar water right now. but, unfortunately, we can’t afford a vet if it doesn’t work.

    Any help/suggestions appreciated…

  31. avatar

    Hello Jay, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog.

    Unfortunately the sugar water treatment and gently replacing the tissue with a Vaseline or mineral oil coated swab are the only steps that can be taken without veterinary assistance. If the tissue does retract, do not feed the toad for 7-10 days, and thereafter offer very small meals to start.

    Please write back if you need further information.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  32. avatar

    Are the odds in favor of a veiled chameleon surviving a prolapsed cloaca? I rushed my cham to the vet 8/14 for this, he had the surgery. For 2 days he ate, he has been consistently drinking plenty of water. I took him back 8/18, I could see he was trying to pass a stool, but could not. Another prolapse appeared & took him to vet next morning (8/18), vet said nothing like 1st one, able to push gently back in. He is on 3 meds for high kidneys & liver counts. He is tired, sleeping a lot. I’ve read online where others with this situation told others to put their cham down. With the surgery, meds & care, can they still pull through?

    Thank You

  33. avatar

    Hello Stacey, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog.

    Survival is certainly possible, but there are a great many variables and, unfortunately, there is no real way to predict what will happen. You are doing the best you can; taking the right measures.

    I’m not sure what type of surgery he underwent, but usually if the cloaca is re-positioned within the body the standard procedure is too withhold food for a given amount of time (determined by the doctor on a case by case basis) and then to introduce small food items slowly. Often a stitch is put in to close the cloaca for a time. I would check with the second Vet re feeding; procedure could have changed, but all the Vets I have worked with in zoos have advised fasting.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  34. avatar

    How much does a trip to the vet for an amphibian suffering from this typically cost?

  35. avatar

    Hello, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog.

    Veterinarian fees vary widely, even within the same city…unfortunately I cannot provide an accurate estimate. In general, fees are similar to what would be charged to treat a bird or cat. Your veterinarian should be able to provide an estimate if you describe the symptoms.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  36. avatar

    Thank You for your replies. My chameleon died on 8/24. I spent a total of $587.00 for his care & knowing what I know now, I still would’ve done it, he was that special. I noticed him not drinking as much the week before the prolapse but nothing to make me worry. He was on metacam for the month of July, I am not blaming my 1st vet at all but the 2nd vet said he would not give this med to a cham stating it is not good for their kidneys?? I do not know the cause for the prolapse. We have lost a unique cham who liked to be held and fall asleep in your lap while rubbing his chin. He was only 5yrs old.

  37. avatar

    Hello Stacey, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for the feedback and sorry to hear about your lizard.

    Unfortunately, chameleons are quite problematical in captivity, even in zoos. It really does take quite a great deal of effort and space to keep them properly, and we know little of their medical problems. Certain medications are indeed hard on the kidneys, but it’s almost always an educated guess with chameleons, even for many well-experienced vets.

    One thing to bear in mind – stress is often difficult to notice in reptiles, especially if the animal is already debilitated/sick. A chameleon that tolerates handling is likely too weak to exhibit a stressful reaction (escape maneuver, color change, biting) or may even be feigning death to escape notice (many chameleons drop from branches and lie motionless in the leaf litter when attacked in the wild. In all cases, it’s very important to understand our pets’ natural behaviors when evaluating their care in captivity. Of the thousands of chameleons of many species that have come under my care in zoos, I’ve not know any that took well to handling. I say this not to make you feel bad in any way, and certainly handling was not the cause of the prolapse, but just to provide some insight for next time. If you enjoy handling your pets, there are a number of reptiles that would make better choices for you than a chameleon. Please write back if you’d like some ideas.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  38. avatar
    Mandie and Petey Grosskopf

    Hello and thank you for your time,

    Petey is a 2 or 2 1/2 yr old chinese water dragon with a prolapse. When i took him in to the vet she said it looked like he had been eating hair off the floor (hes free roam in his own room) and was straining to pass it. she has been having me soak him for the last 2 days (she did as well for 18 hrs or so ) but not sugar. i can change his husbandry but i need to fix the prolapse and sugar water isn’t working. any advice you could give me would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you,
    Mandie and Petey

  39. avatar

    Hello Mandie, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog.

    The opinion of the veterinarians with whom I worked at the Bronx Zoo was that soaking would work within the first day or so…if it did not, then surgery/re-insertion or other steps were taken. Your veterinarian may have another theory, and there may be good reasons for it, but in my experience soaking works rather quickly, or not at all. One risk involved with having the tissue exposed for protracted periods is the chance of bacterial or other infection.

    If you feel you might want a second opinion, please write back and I’ll put you in touch with a reptile veterinarian referral list.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  40. avatar

    dear frank, i have 1 baby snake C. hortulanos with the prolapsed cloaca, i have handle the animal with sugar water and then put all the tissue inside again and i think it works, her were i live there is not a single vet spezialesed in reptiles and i want to know what i supose to do now, i´m keeping the baby in wet towel paper. I relly want to know wath happen because i have another baby in the same situation and she looks fine and healthy and dont shows any problem.
    I give them to eath the last week, and maybe the mouse was to big?
    Thanks for you attention,
    and waiting for you replay,

    Adriana,
    Costa Rica.

  41. avatar

    Hello Adriana, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog.

    It’s not common for snakes to have a prolapse…it would not likely be due to a large meal, as they are well-equipped to handle that and I’ve never seen or heard of such being reported. Hard to say what caused it, could a structural weakness, etc.

    It would be best to give the injury plenty of time to heal…I suggest that you do not feed the snake for at approximately 3 weeks. There will be some strain on the area once the last meal is digested and passed, so watch the snake at that point – after that, some time without food will help in healing, and will not do the snake any harm.

    Damp towels are good for a short time after the incident, but be sure the snake has a chance to dry out in a day or so. If not already available, a basking area of 30 C or so might be useful as well, the snake may seek warmth when healing.

    I wish I was in Costa Rica…cold here in NY! I worked with green turtles on Tortuguero and miss it!

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  42. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    I have 2 white’s tree frogs one of which developed a prolapse on Friday 11/13/09. I knew something was wrong because he had stopped eating about 4-5 days before the prolapse occurred. I took him into a retile store and they pushed the prolapse back in. Subsequently, the prolapse happened again at which point I soaked him in sugar water to no avail. So I pushed his prolapse back in and it fell out again. So on Monday 11/16/09 he sucked it back in himself but he is very lethargic. Before reading some of the other posts I was trying to feed him crickets and I even tried to feed him mashed up rice just to get something in his system. Alas I couldn’t get his mouth open so I was unable to force feed him. Should I wait to feed him 7-10 days even though he was not eating before or should I try to force feed him? If I need to force feed him what should I use? Also how does one force feed a tree frog?
    Thank you so much for any help!

  43. avatar

    Hello Jessie, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Sorry to hear about your frog. It’s best to wait at least 7-10 days before feeding, and then use a young cricket, half-grown or so (less indigestible legs/wings). Wait 3-4 days and then feed another, etc. A 2 week fast will not harm a White’s that had been feeding regularly; a bowel movement before the prolapse is healed could be dangerous or fatal.

    Since the prolapse has been recurring, you might be better off taking the frog to an experienced vet (check first if the office can handle the matter)…a stitch in the cloaca may be necessary.

    Force feeding, when needed, is best done with 2 people. A plastic spoon, inverted, or for small animals a cup piece of a plastic deli-cup, can be used to pry open the jaws. Enter at the lower jaw and exert pressure in and down. The spoon can be twisted or another used to keep the mouth open (fingers work too, but not with African bull or horned frogs!!). Just in case it comes up in the future, best not to use rice, as the frog’s digestive system cannot process this – it will either cause an impaction or pass out undigested (marine toads can digest some plant material, however). Soft bodied insects or canned monitor food would suffice.
    I hope the frog recovers….Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio

  44. avatar

    Hello I am caring for two WTF and one digested some moss while eating a cricket. Its has been a couple of days now and I noticed that moss has been hanging from his cloaca. At first i thought it was just hanging their so I misted him to try to wash it off, realizing it was actually inside him too and that he was trying to pass the moss and bowl. Another day has gone by and some more moss is showing i removed it with some tweezers but i was afraid to pull out his organ since some pink was already showing. I read everything about the prolapse and also some mentionings of impaction on your blog; what is worse and what should I do to help the frog? Is it better to try to remove the moss “help him pass his bowl” and if so what should I try. Can waiting cause a prolapse if the frog tries to pass the moss himself? Would sugar water help as mentioned above to prevent a possible prolapse? If no prolapse occurs, how many days is it safe to wait and see if he is able to solve the problem? And if it impaction occurs what can I do? He is not bloated but it is certain he is having difficulties passing the moss and he is on the ground a lot and his skin color is brown (the moss is brown too), he also less active than normal…I am very concerned I can’t have another frog die. If I can do anything myself please tell me.
    Thank you so much!

  45. avatar

    Hello Friedrich, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog.

    Unfortunately, there’s no way to tell how extensive the problem from an external look – if some tissue is showing and the moss has not passed by now, it is likely not going to do so. It may even extend up into the intestines…you’ll need to bring it to a Veterinarian experienced with amphibians…please let me know if you need a reference and I’ll do my best to find someone in your area. Do not use the sugar treatment at this point, as such could do more harm than good in this situation.

    Sorry I could not be of more help, but this is not a problem that can likely be resolved at home.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  46. avatar

    I need some advice. I have been to vets, asked breeders, and anyone who will listen. No one can give me an answer. I have been having issues with several of my baby ball pythons. Here are the symptoms in order:
    Lack of apetite
    Dry urine on cloaca and around the area.
    lack of energy
    Back 1/3 of the body looks like it is extremely dehydrated and belly turns from white to light brown.
    Then the same back third of body becomes extremely flat (looks like someone took an iron to the side of the snake an flated them)
    Death
    This has happened to several of my babies that I have purchased from different breeders, different morphs as well. I have only a baby that I produced last year and now is showing signs. Any and all help would be greatful.

  47. avatar

    Hello John, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog.

    As you mention, dehydration could be involved, perhaps a kidney issue, but I have not run across all the symptoms you describe, nor have I read of such over the years; the fact that it happens in snakes from different sources is particularly odd.

    The person you need to contact is Dr. Kevin Wright, one of the world’s foremost reptile veterinarians. Please see his Distance Diagnosis Services; I’m quite sure he will have useful information for you.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  48. avatar

    Hope you can help! My daughter got an Argentine 22months ago. Monte has never hibernated, but I think he wants to now. He hasnt eaten for two weeks. He is normally a big 3.5 foot lizard, but scares us that his legs are all skinny now and we can see his backbone.

    We were not planning on him going through a hibernation, because we dont plan on breeding him. He is enclosed in a 3ft deep, 4ft high, 6ft long enclosure. With 3inches of bark.

    How do we allow a safe hibernation? We love this big guy and dont want him to die. Should we increase the amount of substrate for him to hibernate. What about lighting?

  49. avatar

    Sorry that was an Argentine Tegu!!

  50. avatar

    Hello Jannell, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog.

    Since the lizard did not hibernate during other winters, I’m afraid its condition may be due to an illness….if temperature etc. is the same as last winter, it’s not likely that it would try to hibernate this year. Also, if the backbone is showing, the animal is too thin to safely hibernate. I suggest that you have it seen by a veterinarian, to check for a medical problem or an intestinal blockage.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  51. avatar

    My giant african bullfrog suffered from dehydration and constipation and since then (over a month long period) he has had two prolapses. The first was after a few vet visits and it was his first poo after being ill.
    The second was also when he was going to the toliet and it was after he was given the all clear by the vet.
    Both occured when he was in the bath (vets orders that he has one a day), could the fact that he is in water being causing this?
    Also, he usually only has crickets as he refuses most other food but last two days he has had grasshoppers-could these be another possible cause of the prolapse?
    Hope you can help, Rachel.

  52. avatar

    Hello Rachel, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog and sorry to hear about your difficulties.

    It’s not uncommon for a prolapse to recur the first time the animal defecates. Was a stitch put in? Often a stitch and a long fast is an effective way of addressing a prolapse, but vets have varying opinions on this, and, unfortunately, there are no easy answers.

    Even without stitches, I would fast the animal for as long as possible – if he is in good weight, fasts of 4-6 weeks or longer are possible. Temperatures in the low 70’s allow for longer fasts, but your vet will need to weigh the value of this against a possible reduced healing time at lower temperatures.

    Being in water for a time is not a problem, and would help in defecating. Vets I’ve worked with often advised soft foods, such as earthworms, or even tube-fed liquid nutrients, for the first few meals after healing. I would stay away from crickets and grasshoppers for now, as both contain a good deal of indigestible material that must be passed by the frog (legs, wing covers, thicker parts of exoskeleton.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Please also feel free to write in with details concerning diet, temperature, terrarium set-up etc., as such factors may have a bearing on his condition.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  53. avatar

    hi, we have a 1 year old ball python and she pooped and got aspen bedding in her cloaca. it got really swollen and did not go back in.. we soaked her in warm water and let her sit outside the terrerium for about 20 minutes and it eventually went down.

  54. avatar

    Hello Dianna and Dean, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for interesting post; Ball Pythons do not often have such problems, so your experience is most interesting; I’ll keep it on file for future reference.

    Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  55. avatar

    Hi. I have a Nothwestern Tree-Frog that I believe prolapsed. He had a clear bubble and larger hole on his bottom. It dissapeared and only a tiny little pinkish-clear bubble remains. Now, there is a small, gell-like bubble on his stomach. How do I treat him, because the sugar-water didn’t work? And I can’t take him to the vet because he’s wild and I don’t want to disturb his peace.

  56. avatar

    Hello Kyra, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog. Unfortunately, you will need to bring the frog to a vet as the remaining bit of exposed tissue will soon become infected or necrotic; the other bubble you describe is a likely site for infection as well. Untreated infections are invariably fatal, and cannot be addressed without professional help. Please let me know if you need assistance in locating an experienced veterinarian.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  57. avatar

    Hey Frank,

    I have a magnificent green three frog that had a prolapsed cloaca last night. I took him to the vets and they put it back in. Im not sure what has caused it and I was wondering should I starve him like you suggested above for the giant african bullfrog? He is of good weight.

  58. avatar

    Hi Tarah,

    Yes, best not to feed the frog for at 7-10 days, as the area should heal fully before feces are passed for first time. feed very small meals after that; best to avoid large meals entirely, in fact. If prolapse re-occurs, vet will likely need to stitch for a time.

    Best, Frank

  59. avatar

    Hi Frank,
    very informative blog thanks!
    We have an adult axolotl, Ákka’ laid eggs about a month ago (all 680 of them!!!! and most still alive in another tank). All was good until a few days ago, we thought she was going to pass more eggs but instead her cloaca has protruded and is now really red and quite large.
    Is it worth trying the sugar water treatment you suggest above? We are all hoping its not too late…..
    thanks
    Eddie and family

  60. avatar

    Hello Eddie, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog and the kind words.

    Ordinarily I would say give it a try; however, the axolotl could very well be ready to lay another clutch. If she is unable to pass the eggs and has prolapsed for that reason, the treatment would not be effective. Unfortunately, a veterinarian is needed to diagnose and treat this (oxytosin injections can be used to help her expel the eggs). Please let me know if you need help in locating a vet with amphibian experience (it’s a small field…a “typical” vet in your area may also be able to refer you).

    If temperatures have risen recently, try cooling the animal down in the meantime …float a bag of ice, move to cool room, etc).

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio

  61. avatar

    Frank,

    We want to say thank you for your suggestions on this blog. We have 14 month old axolotl, (Toothless is its name) who sustained a cloacal prolapse 2 days ago and with the sugar water/Qtip manipulation we were able to reduce the prolapse. Toothless is looking good now 2 days later and has even eaten a couple of tubefex worms. We understand we probably not yet out of the woods but are appreciative to have found this website for your insight.

    Thanks, Toothless, Jenny and Nate

  62. avatar

    Hello Jenny

    Thanks for the kind words, much appreciated.

    I’m happy to hear all went well…congrats, not always easy by any means. Although eating is a good sign, it would be best to withhold for at least 1 week. Passing wastes will put pressure on the surrounding tissue, and can cause another prolapse. A 7-10 day fast will do no harm at all.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  63. avatar

    Frank,
    I have a ball python that I got less than a month ago. I fee him last week and o had to leave for a few days due to my job in the army. When i came home its cloaca was out and swolen. I tried the sugar and warm water thing and it helped a little but it didn’t go back in and I had his tail soaking for about a half hour. He looked like it was helping at first but then he tightened on my arm and got like defensive so I had to put him back in his cage. Im broke so the vets probably won’t help. I love my snake and its got me worried what should I do?
    ,Dakoda

  64. avatar

    Hello Dakoda,

    Thanks for your interest. Unfortunately, there’s nothing more that can be done w/o a vet. Prolapses are not common in snakes and are usually serious when they occur. May be related to an intestinal obstruction, eggs that cannot be passed – but it will need to be diagnosed and treated by a vet. Vets are sometimes more understanding, re payment, in emergency situations…perhaps a local reptile club can suggest such a person?

    Sorry I could not provide an easier option, but there really are no alternatives.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  65. avatar
    Christine Jonard

    Hi Frank,
    I must say that your blog is so very helpful, and I hope you can help me. I am having a problem with one of my American toads…she is a female in a cage with 3 males, and let’s just say I know why they are nicknames horny toads. ;) One make in particular would latch on for days at a time. Tonight when I was feeding them, I noticed she had what appeared to be a prolapsed cloaca. I soaked her in sugar water and got it back in, but now I am wondering if it was due to her overactive roommates and she was straining to lay eggs, or if there is something I am doing wrong.
    They are kept in a 20L on cocofiber which I mist 1-2x a day. They have a plant, several hiding places and a heat lamp. I feed them mainly crickets, with earthworm and the occasional wax worm. They usually get fed every 3-4 days–but I do usually feed them in their cage (I used to take them out but not all of them ate when I did that, so I thought not taking them out would be less stressful?). Could it be the cocofiber? Or is there some glaring misstep in my husbandry that can be fixed.
    I plan on watching her for the next few days to determine if she will be a survivor or not. I am hoping for yes, but…
    Thanks in advance for the assistance, and the excellent website.
    Cheers,
    Chris

  66. avatar

    Hello Chris

    Thanks for your interest and the kind words.

    Some toads do fine on coco fiber, but it does tend to stick to food, and it may cause impactions, especially if there is an underlying issue (slight dehydration, etc.). I prefer sphagnum moss or dead leaves collected from a pesticide-free area.

    Best not to house a female with males in spring; you can try afterwards. If temperatures dip in winter, she may develop eggs…they will only be able to successfully breed in a large pool/container of water. The prolapse may be from pressure exerted during amplexus, a intestinal blockage or her efforts in trying to pass eggs. Unfortunately, there is no way to be sure other than via radio-graph or a similar technique. Some females absorb un-laid eggs, but in other cases the eggs eventually spoil and a fatal infection – egg peritonitis – develops.

    If the cloaca stays in for a week or so, you can gamble on the condition being unrelated to un-laid eggs. But the only way to be sure is to have her seen by an experienced vet. Please let me know if you need help in locating one in your area. For now, do not feed the toad for a week to 10 days.

    Best also to feed more earthworms than crickets if possible; crickets that are fed should be half-grown, especially for the female; lots of indigestible parts in adults. Please see this article on diet and let me know if you have any questions concerning supplements, etc.

    Please let me know if you need any further information. Good luck, enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  67. avatar

    Hi! My whites tree frog had a prolapse and I took him to the vet. Is it curable? Thanks!

  68. avatar

    Hi,

    Much depends on the extent of the prolapse, the cause and the treatment received. be sure to follow the vet’s directions concerning feeding…generally the frog should not eat for 7-10 days following a prolapse, but details vary in each case. Please write back with some care details…set-up, diet, supplements, substrate, temperatures, humidity and I’ll check; these often play a role in prolapses.

    Good luck and please keep me posted, Frank

  69. avatar

    I mist 2 times a day and feed either 1 freeze dried cricket or mealworm a day. I coat all feedings in supplements. I change water every day and remove waste. Hope this helps!

  70. avatar

    Hello,

    Thanks for the feedback; best to avoid mealworms; they have been linked to intestinal blockages, which can add to prolapse likelihood. Crickets alone are not adequate; please see this article for some ideas. Since it tong-feeds, earthworms would be excellent as a basis of the diet. Proper temperatures are important; supplements should be high quality, such as ZooMed repticalcium alternated with ZooMed Reptivite with D3. Best to feed on alternate days, with occasional longer fasts.

    Please keep me posted, Best, Frank

  71. avatar
    Kathleen Stockwell

    Hi Frank,
    My son has a male jungle carpet python that prolapsed a few months ago. The vet took xrays and pushed the prolapse back in. The snake seemed fine but a few days ago prolapsed again. My son put it back again and today he prolapsed again. Have you had any success in fixing/curing prolapse or do you have any suggestions on what he can do? He would rather not put this guy down unless absolutely necessary

  72. avatar

    Hi Kathleen,

    A stitch is sometimes used to close the cloaca and hold the area stable while it heals. Vets at the Bx Zoo have used this successfully with frogs and lizards; I do not recall any snakes having had the procedure…given the diet, an extended period of fasting would be necessary, and perhaps tube feeding afterwards in order to ease pressure on the area. let me know if you need help in locating an experienced vet,

    Best, Frank

  73. avatar

    My American toad had a prolapse before and your suggestions worked very well!! However it has just happened again its been a few hours and nothing!! Is it really worth a vet visit?? Can they do anything?? This is my sons”BABY” so he would be hurt if it doesn’t get better! Also how long can they actually live after this happens?? Your my hero Frank. Dena

  74. avatar

    Hi Dena,

    Thanks for the kind words, much appreciated.

    Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon for a p[prolapse to recur. An vet experienced with amphibians can stitch the cloaca, which often allows the prolapse to heal. You’ll need to fast the toad for a time, which is never a concern if in good weight. American Toads can live into their 20’s…I’ve had good longevities with other species after such problems, but there are no hard/fast rules. Pl let me know if you need help in locating a vet, and let me know how all goes,

    Good luck, Frank

  75. avatar

    Hello Frank,

    Thank so much for providing us with such a valuable resource along with your expertise and time. I truly appreciate it and am certain many others do as well.

    I have an adult female (I believe) White’s Treefrog that is having this issue, however, she seems to be able to retract her cloaca. She is the sole occupant in an 18″ x 18″ x 18″ terrarium with coco fiber substrate. There’s a large bowl of water, humidity is around 50%, and there’s a temperature gradient from about 75F – 85F using an infrared bulb. Diet consists of crickets, silk, horn, and butter worms (sparingly on the last) which are fed from platforms off of the substrate. I’ve had her for just over two year and she has been in the same environment during this time with no other occupants at any point.

    She has been lethargic for about a week and not interested in food, both of which are unusual for her. After she had a bowel movement this evening, I noticed for the first time the slight protrusion. What drew my attention is that I noticed her “tailbone” was still sticking up. She went into her water bowl and retracted her cloaca a few minutes later. She stayed in the bowl for over an hour before hunching over the side of it so that her back end was still in the water; that’s when I noticed a protrusion again and slightly more pronounced this time.

    She has since moved back onto the base of one of the branches in her cage and retracted her cloaca. However, her “tailbone” continues to stick up.

    Would you have any suggestions or thoughts? In the meantime, I will try to locate a veterinarian as well.

    Thank you in advance for your assistance.

  76. avatar

    Hello Mark,

    Thanks for the kind words and sorry for the delay…storm related problems here in NY. Seems as though you are doing everything right..unfortunately, reasons behind prolapse are not always clear; eggs, infection sometimes involved, although I’ve not seen that with White’s Treefrogs. The bone may be protruding as a result of the strain accompanying the prolapse, or the effort in withdrawing, but no way to be sure without a vet exam. Let me know if you need help in locating a vet; I have a few sources that cover Canada, if you are there.

    Best to keep the frog on damp paper towels until resolved; smooth PVC pipes preferable to branches at this time (wood, substrate may stick to injury or future prolapse.)

    Thanks for detailing the behavior..interesting, and perhaps fact that she had strength etc. is a good sign.

    SDorry I could not be of more help; good luck and please keep me posted, Best,Frank

  77. avatar

    Hello Frank,

    Thank you very much for your timely reply and no need to apologize in the least. This is so insignificant compared to the impact of last week’s storm and I hope everything returns to some semblance of normalcy very quickly for yourselves.

    I’m in Ottawa, Canada and will be bringing her tomorrow to a vet that has experience in this area. Thanks again for your time and concern and I’ll keep you posted regarding her progress.

    Sincerely,

    Mark

  78. avatar

    Much appreciated, Mark.

    I look forward to hearing how all goes…we still have much to learn, so your input will be useful to myself and other readers.

    Good luck, Frank

  79. avatar

    Hello Frank,

    I’m happy to share and glad it can benefit yourself and others.

    Dr. Auger performed a physical exam yesterday including checking her eyes, weighing her, and listening to her heart; the process was quite fascinating. When he palpated her abdomen, she excreted some watery waste which was used for a fecal smear. Dr. Auger suspected parasites which he confirmed after examining the smear and advised that she’s infested with nematodes and one other (I believe he said coccidia). This has resulted in gastroenteritis which is causing her to strain and he’s prescribed Ivermectin (which he demonstrated how to administer) and Sulfa/Trim. He also cleared her for return to her regular enclosure after confirming that she’s the sole occupant, advised to resume feeding, and cautioned that the medications may produce “interesting” results in her waste. I’m to monitor for any signs of prolapse and if she’s having trouble retracting, he recommended applying sugar directly onto the affected area as it has a stronger osmotic effect.

    I’m pleased to report that after one dose of both medications, she seems much brighter-eyed and was back on the top branch of her favourite perch, looking at me expectantly for food. I was surprised about returning her to her enclosure so soon and gave her perch a good scrubbing with hot water and soap as a precaution (it’s artificial).

    Dr. Auger also recommended a yearly examine along with preventative care to keep the parasites under control. I’ll be doing so along with bringing my two leopard geckos during the same visit as he suggested. While I didn’t expect this level of maintenance for these animals despite having researched their requirements first, I’m committed to providing the best care possible and am very grateful for incredible resources like yourself and Dr. Auger.

    Thank you again,

    Mark

  80. avatar

    Hi mark,

    Very good to hear, thanks for the interesting post. We have long relied upon Ivermectin at the Bx Zoo. Very useful to follow up as suggested, as it is difficult to eliminate all parasites w/o putting the animal at risk.

    Enjoy and pl keep me posted, Best, Frank

  81. avatar

    Hi Frank.
    I’m hoping you can help me out! My RETF named Lola has a prolapse. I believe it just happened today. I’ve soaked her in the sugar water solution for about 40 minutes with no luck. I’ve also tried to massage the prolapse back in, but she is squirming and it actually started to protrude more. I’m worried that being out if her terrarium is causing her stress, as she is usually never handled and only leaves when I do a thorough cleaning.
    I want to take her to a vet ASAP, but I’m sure none will be open on Easter Sunday. Do you have any advice on what I can do until Monday? Can you recommend a vet in the San Francisco Bay Area?

    Thank you!

  82. avatar

    Hi Amy,

    Best not to continue with treatment if it has not worked. keep the frog on moist paper towels, without any substrate that might stick to the organ, until you can see a vet. The link below is to a listing of herp vets in southern Calif; any of them may be able to refer you to one closer to home if need be, as it is a rather small specialty. You might also try calling the reptile dept of local zoos…staff will be in today, and they may have contacts with nearby vets or emergency clinics.

    Herp Vets: http://www.anapsid.org/vets/califs.html

    Pl keep me posted; when all is settled perhaps we can go over care details, which may be helpful in finding the roor of the problem, good luck, Frank

  83. avatar

    Thank you Frank! I kept Lola in the solution for a little while longer and the organ went back in. She’s currently sleeping inside a cricket carrier inside her terrirum with a moist paper towel.

    What are the next steps? I know I need to keep her isolated and not feed her for about 7 days, correct? Do I need to take her to a vet? How exactly does a vet put a stitch in a frog?!

    Thank you for your quick response!

  84. avatar

    My pleasure..keep as is, do not disturb or feed and keep moist; if all stays fine for a week you may be able to do w/o vet (treatment is tricky)…gamble either way as we do not know all that much about amphib medicine. Stitch if needed is placed at opening of cloaca, seems to help healing process but not always. feeding will need to be closely monitored afterwards. send me some details re its diet, temps, habitat etc when you have a chance, best, Frank

  85. avatar

    I have been feeding only crickets dusted with herptivite lately, which I now understand is not a healthy diet. The temperature is currently 75 and the humidity is 90. Lola has shared a 18 x 18 x 18 terrarium with 2 other red eyes for the past 4 years without incident. They have a running waterfall, driftwood branches, live plants and coco husk with a layer of moss.

  86. avatar

    Hi Amy,

    Yes, on a cricket only they will not do well long term; prolapses can occur when they are not fed properly…too many crickets and others with thick exoskeletons; also CA deficiencies affect muscle contraction, ability to expel feces, straining results (many other possible causes likely, of course, but little in way of specific info);They appear to feed mainly of small, soft bodied inverts in the wild..moths, flies, caterpillars, etc. Please see this article on diet, let me know if you need links to others on collecting small insects. Flightless houseflies (cultures available online) are ideal is a staple. See note in article re cricket size also, and add Calcium powder to supplements. be sure that cocohusk does not come in contact with insects…if swallowed, it may cause blockages, prolapses, etc. Pl keep me posted, best, Frank

  87. avatar

    Thanks Frank. I have ordered houseflies for the frogs, and am thinking about collecting my own. I ordered the trio of supplement powder as well.

    Lola is still in a small cricket keeper- should I continue to keep her contained, or is it alright to move her to a larger cricket container with more space for her to move at night?

  88. avatar

    Hi Amy,

    I’d stay with commercial colonies…I collected flies early on, but there’s just too many health risks, Salmonella and such – more for people than frogs, probably, but it’s not worth the risk. Other small insects fine..the frogs may even take fruit flies, but you’ll need quite a few. If situation permits, you can lure these through screening with some ripe fruit placed within the terrarium. Collecting moths near outdoor lights is simple in some situations as well.

    You can move the frog to larger quarters, just keep clean, no substrate, plastic PVC pipe or similar is preferable to branches until healing is complete.

    Best, Frank

  89. avatar

    Hello … I have a red eared turtle and she has a prolapse .. I’m young and I don’t have money for surgery and my mom is thinking about putting her down .. I’m trying the sugar thing but I’m not sure if its working.. its alto hanging out what can I do to help? Please respond asap thank you

  90. avatar

    Hi,

    Unfortunately, if the sugar treatment has not helped, there’s not much that can be done at home; an experienced vet is needed. Pl let me know if you need assistance in locating a vet. You might also try calling local nature centers or turtle interest groups (herpetological societies, turtle and tortoise societies in your area)…members may have relationships with vets who provide volunteer or low cost services. Sorry I could not offer a better solution, Frank

  91. avatar

    my female beardie layed 11 eggs but I can tell she still has a couple more in her, she has been trying to expell an egg since last night to no avail, I have soaked her in a warm tub and was wondering if you knew what I might be able to do, thanks

  92. avatar

    HI Jacque,

    A common problem…unfortunately, not much can be done at home other than what you’ve tried; if the eggs remain, a fatal infection (egg peritonitis) and other problems will set in. An experienced vet can usually solve the problem (i.e. oxytosin injection) but you should act quickly, as the infection is rarely curable once established. Pl let me know if you need help in locating a vet.

    Best,. Frank

  93. avatar

    Well I figured it out, I put her in a warm tub again and I could see the end of the egg after looking on her underside I could see that the egg was trying to come out width wise so I gently rotated it and layed her on a towel and the egg popped out. Thank you for your help

  94. avatar

    That’s promising, but safest option would be to check at vet’s for retained eggs, as there’s no way to be sure via visual inspection. Problems expelling eggs often related to low calcium levels or dehydration (other factors can affect also); let me know if you need further info on that aspect, best, Frank

  95. avatar

    I had that cloaca s problem with my axolotl and I did that you recommend the sugar shower and then I withdrew the cloaca with a little cotton and returned my axolotl to the a65ciarium but its still quiet I didn’t feed it because I don’t know if I have to? When I can feed my dear axolotl helpme please

  96. avatar

    Hi Jason,

    If the cloaca remains inside the animal, do not feed it for 1 week; as long as it is otherwise healthy, a fast of 1 week will do no harm. After that, you can give it a small meal…1/2 or less the size you would usually provide. Wait 2-3 days and offer another small bit of food. Continue like that for 2 weeks or so.

    If the c;loaca protrudes again, you’ll need to see a vet; pl let me know if you need help in finding a vet, or if you have other questions, best, Frank

  97. avatar

    Thank you very much for your help but I am from Santiago de Chile and its hard to find a vet who specializes in these creatures . Now my problem is that the axolotl doesn’t move around it just move the mouth a little bit I’m very worry and sad about it. is that normal. Wil it feel better in a week? Or is another illness
    ?

  98. avatar

    Hi Jason,

    Not really possible to diagnose based on those symptoms, unfortunately. High water temps and ammonia can cause lethargy, so try a partial water change, check filter; but any number of infections or parasites can also be at work. Please send details re temperature, ammonia levels etc if possible. best, Frank

  99. avatar

    Hi Frank,
    I posted back in April, and just wanted to let you know that my red eye tree frog Lola has healed and has had no complications, and no other prolapses! Thank you so much for your help.

    Amy

  100. avatar

    Hi Amy,

    Thanks very much for taking the time to write in with the update; congrats on a fine job! There are often lingering problems, even following surgery, so you obviously have taken great care. Please keep me posted, enjoy, Frank

  101. avatar

    hi.. I have a spotted turle and it has cloacal prolapse coming. It could be male organ but putting jelly has not helped. We are unable to take to the vet. Any suggestions except the sugar remedy..

  102. avatar

    Hello Alex,

    If it is the male organ it may be withdrawn, but unfortunately there are no options other than a vet visit for a prolapse or extruded male organ that will not resolve. if untreated, the animal will contract an infection, which will be fatal in time. Pl let me know if you need help in locating a vet. Best regards, frank

  103. avatar

    how much time does turtle take to retract male organ. As precaution we are not keeping the turtle in its tank…

  104. avatar

    Hi Alex,

    It should retract within a few minutes…if still extruded, this is a problem that should be checked by a vet, Keep the animal on clean damp paper towels or in shallow water without gravel until it can be checked. Best, Frank

  105. avatar

    Green treefrog has a rectal prolapse. never had this before with any of my little frog children. Seems a small one. What to treat him with. Daily activities seem normal still despite this problem.

  106. avatar

    Hello,

    If the treatment described does not work, it would be best to see a vet; do not feed in the meantime. Even if the animal acts normally, the tissue will become necrotic and bacterial/fungal infections will take hold. Please let me know if you need assistance in locating an experienced vet, Best, Frank

  107. avatar

    Dear Frank, my retf developed a prolapse last night. I did a sugar soak yesterday and it retracted a bit and am a honey soak right now. It has retracted slightly, but not all of the way. I can try to use the gentle qtip method. I’d like to have it stitched. Do you know any good vets near Erie, pa?

    Thank you kindly!
    Heather

  108. avatar

    Hello Heather,

    I don’t know anyone personally, but below are links to PA reptile vets from 2 well-regarded sites. If none are near Erie, ask the closest for a reference…it’s a limited specialty…many practitioners know one-another. I can also call my contacts at ThatPetplace in Lancaster if that is close to you, they likely have someone. Good luck and pease keep me posted, Frank
    http://www.nytts.org/nytts/helpnet.htm#PA
    http://www.arav.org/find-a-vet/#Pennsylvania

  109. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Thank you kindly. The prolapse actually started Saturday night. I found it when I got home late Saturday evening after work. I was quite sleepy last night as I worked 13 hrs sat, stayed up until past midnight to monitor him after the soak, and then worked 13 hrs Sunday. I apologize for any confusion with days. Last evening after work I came home to him hunched over looking as though he was in pain. The prolapse was dripping serosanguinous fluid. He looked very bad. There are no herp vets here. The nearest I heard of was 2 hrs away. I knew I had seen your article prior so I searched for it. The prolapse went it easily though I took my time bc I was afraid it would hurt him. He actually looked better after that. Could stand up straight and his overall color improved. The prolapse was still pink/red and I could see the capillaries. It looked ok. This am I found he had passed. My presumption… Shock? Obstruction or ischemic bowel? Electrolyte overload? What are your thoughts. He was my first rescue 2 1/2 yrs ago. He was very special to us. We will miss him :(. Thank you kindly. I think it was just too late, progressed too long. I wish I had a good herp vet here. I’d have certainly taken him. We love our little Twigs!

    Thank you again!!!!!
    Sincerely, Heather

  110. avatar

    Hi Heather,

    Sorry to hear your news but you acted appropriately. Even with specialized care, i.e. vets at the Bronx Zoo, we frequently lost animals after a prolapse. No way to say what may have been the actual cause of death, as so many factors can contribute to a prolapse. Bacterial and other infections often set in very quickly, and can progress rapidly, but the prolapse itself could just have been the end result of other health problems…autopsies often reveal unexpected underlying conditions.

    If the vet lists do not prove useful re planning for future problems, you might try contacting the reptile department of the nearest zoo..may have useful contacts.

    Sorry I could not be of more help, good luck with your work and please keep me posted, Frank

  111. avatar

    Thank you again!
    Twigs was very well loved. He is at peace now. I will be sure to find a vet closer than my vet in Michigan. I appreciate the guidance. I will be treating the rest of my retf’s to be safe. I always appreciate your assistance and teachings and would just like to say we at the forums do also. Thank you kindly!!! We’re lucky to have you!

    Thanks so much!
    Heath

  112. avatar

    Hello Heather,

    Thanks for the kind words…i saw a note re your frog on FB as well. Let me know if you need anything, best, Frank

  113. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    I just thought I’d send an update.

    As we still miss our special “Twiggy”, we are happy to say that our other 5 red eyed tree frogs have remained healthy and without any signs of parasitic infection. We did preventatively treat with Panacur for the full recommended dose of a dusting one day a week for for weeks on their feeder insects.

    Thank you, again!

    Heather

  114. avatar

    Hello heather,

    Thanks very much for the update..Panacur a good idea, glad all turned out well, best regards, Frank

  115. avatar

    Hello Frank,
    I wish I had found your blog a few days ago. I have been babysitting, actually iguana sitting for my granddaughter. Her green iguana is 1-2 years old and has a prolapsed rectum. She noticed it last Friday and today is Tuesday. I picked him up on Sunday to come stay with me. It looked like a pinkish grape coming and I had no idea what it was until I started searching on the Internet. I thought it might heal itself, but when I read that he should be taken to a vet, I took him on Monday. The vet said he had blackened areas on his tail and black spots on his body which meant he had a bacterial infection. She gave him a shot of doxycycline and sent anti-inflammatory meds home with me. She said that surgery would cost $2500 and it wouldn’t be advised as his chances were pretty slim. I took him to another vet today and she was very honest and compassionate (actually both vets were). She said she could try to reinsert the prolapse, but that it had been damaged (he put his toenail through it when I was putting him in his cage). It had shrunken also and looked like a large raisin, but whitish color. She didn’t know whether she would amputate it and then stitch the remaining organ inside to the wall so that he could use it to eliminate waste. She said she wouldn’t know why he had the prolapse unless she did the surgery. It could have been dehydration or another reason to cause it to be pushed out. Although she has never done this particular surgery, she would consult with others who had and because of that, it would be $500. It is still expensive as I am retired, but I left him there and she will be performing the surgery tonight or tomorrow. In the meanwhile, she is giving him fluids by injection and calcium to try to build him up. He was very energetic and moved around in his tank, but he wasn’t eating at all. I gave him the sugar baths and misted him and the cage. I put a cut paper bag on the floor of the cage, rather than the woody litter that my granddaughter had gotten at the pet shop. I think that is what caused the infection in the tail. The woody litter was damp and I removed it as soon as I got him to my house.
    I hope I am doing the right thing by having the surgery. I told the Dr. to not try to resusitate him if his heart stops during the surgery. I really think he probably has an infection or parasite causing the whole problem in the excretory system. I just can’t just sit and watch him die without trying to help him. The Dr. agreed with me. I would like your opinion as you really know this branch of veterinary medicine and I’m just a retired science teacher. I hope he survives the surgery, but I keep thinking maybe I shouldn’t have put him through it and should have just had him put to sleep. What do you think? He’s a very nice iguana and my granddaughter loves him and asked me to please try to help him.

  116. avatar

    Hello Peggy,

    I understand your situation and concern. Unfortunately, there’s no right answer as the second vet’s opinion is accurate..no real way to predict the surgery’s outcome. Even under ideal circumstances, this is a difficult problem to address. I have seen some amazing recoveries following injury to the prolapsed area, but the prognosis is not good in most cases. If the animal continues to decline or re-prolapses after the surgery, I would advise euthanizing.

  117. avatar

    hello! I just spent half an hour working with my American Green Tree frog who had a prolapsed cloaca. I didn’t realize that there was a problem until he had been that way for at least a few hours, if not half the day while I was at work. I reinserted it using a qtip and confined him to a small cage with wet paper towels in a heat pad in a dark corner. I’m starting to think that the end of the tissue may have had some darker discolorationa nd I’m very co deemed that it was dead tissue…..if it was is there any way that he ccould survive with the dead tissue reinserted? I cannot afford to take him to a vet but I love my frog! Please help with any advice you have! Thank you in advance.

  118. avatar

    Hello Rachel,

    Best to remove the heat pad, immune system does not work well at high temperatures. Unfortunately, if dead tissue was present, or if the cloaca prolapses again, the animal will not survive without veterinary attention. Re-inserting is a good emergency procedure, but vet follow-ups are needed. A local reptile/amphibian club or zoo may have contact with a veterinarian who specializes in amphibians..please let me know if you need help in locating one. Best, Frank

  119. avatar

    I have owned turtles literally all my life and have never had this particular problem. I rescued a baby box turtle who has grown well over the last 3 years, excellent eating habits, and lives in a clean large habitat. However when she has a bowel movement her entire rectum comes completely out and then quickly retreats back. She does have a constant pucker but it’s not horrible. What is this and can it be corrected? Thank you

  120. avatar

    Hello Melina,

    It’s not very common or well-studied but could be a weakness in the clock area (musicales associated etc); I wouldn’t try to treat since the turtle is doing well. You might consider cutting back on hard-to-digest items if these are offered. mealworms, adult crickets, waxworms are high in chitin, which main ly passes through the turtle undigested, for example. Please keep me posted, best, frank

  121. avatar

    Hi Frank
    I have just noticed my wtf has a prolapse, im not sure how long its been there but it is fairly large. I have arranged to the visit the vet who specialises in exotics and I have took your advice, bathing him in shallow sugar water. He is 3 years old and generally healthy with good husbandry care. Im not confident enough to try and push it back inside but he keeps straining and trying to push it out. Is there anything I can do to assist him in the mean time? IM very worried about the little guy.
    kind regards, Zoe.

  122. avatar

    Hi Zoe,

    Best not to try if you’ll be seeing vet soon…keep on clean, damp paper towels as described, cooler area of home better than warmer for now. I hope all goes well, pl keep me posted, Frank

  123. avatar

    hi I was wonder my partner have a Chinese water dragon and he was sleeping but as he was sleep his eyes were really puffy and red. I’ve checked a bunch of sites and there ssaying it could be from shedding this is the first time we’ve seen this happen. any thoughts???….

  124. avatar

    Hello,

    Swollen , red eyes can arise from quite a few unrelated causes…bacterial infection, trauma, dietary problems, eye disease…no way to diagnose other than via a vet visit; please let me know if you need help in locating an experienced vet, best, Frank

  125. avatar

    hey so are water dragon. seems to be doing fine this morning but we are keeping a close eye on him. cause they were pulsing when they were red and swollen but as soon as he opened his eyes after we misted his tank his eyes looked normal.

  126. avatar

    Ok, let me know if you need anything…keep humidity up, in general, but allow to dry and bask as well. pl keep me posted, Frank

  127. avatar

    Hi, this article was recommended to me by a FrogForum member. sHEila, my young White’s tree frog (uncertain of exact age, frog croaks and has visible nuptial pads, so estimate 9 months) prolapsed on 11/7/14. I followed treatment advice and used sugar on the tissue and the problem resolved itself within a couple hours or so. I started feeding again within 2 days, starting with one wax worm… this because sHEila and his 3 companions are being treated for coccidiosis by feeding a wax worm with oral suspension Metronidazole injected into it one day a week. The next day I fed him 1 more wax worm, the day after that 2-3 small crickets (much smaller than what they’d been getting– been feeding daily because I was told I probably should while they are being treated). Everything seemed fine, he had a normal poop last week with no sign of a relapse, but on the 18th I heard a squeak from the frog room. When I went to look I saw a perfectly normal looking frog poop, I looked for sHEila under his leaf (artificial) and saw he had prolapsed again. I tried sprinkling sugar on the area but he wouldn’t leave it alone and kept kicking at it, making the swelling worse. Both pairs of my frogs are each still in 5 gallon quarantine tanks since I purchased them and have been treating them for cocci– damp paper towel substrate, minimal decor, temps 75F-80F and humidity appx 50%; lighting is T8 grow lights (I have African violets in the same room) and 60 watt blue and red incandescents for warmth. Last time sHEila prolapsed I moved him immediately to a small critter keeper, but he seemed distressed in there, so this time I opted to leave him with Jelly Bean. The prolapse did not resolve itself by the next morning this time, however, so I moved him to the small keeper– he wasn’t happy! I kept sprinkling sugar, he kept kicking it off, so finally I followed a suggestion to soak him directly in sugar water in the keeper… he climbed out, I nudged him back and didn’t let him get out again, so he puffed up until he floated on the surface and stuck his butt out of the water! So I sprinkled yet more sugar on top of the prolapse and made him stay in the water for appx 20+ min. He started to get agitated so I submerged paper towels in the water, making a big soft sugar water mattress for him to sit on, and I left him that way for the day. When I checked 2-3 hours later the prolapse had completely withdrawn. I switched him to another small keeper with a fresh mattress of wet paper towels, dish of fresh water and 3 fake silk leaves, and left him there until late this morning, when I returned him to his regular 5 gal quarantine tank (I was worried the super humid conditions in the small keeper would cause a respiratory problem). He has been sleeping comfortably on his favorite leaf ever since. He has not been fed since Monday night, prior to the prolapse, and I have no intention of putting him back on crickets for quite some time, as I feel getting those too soon might have exacerbated a return of the prolapse. The strange thing here is that sHEila is the only one of the 4 frogs to have normal poop, the others still having runny feces (not sure how well the treatments are going since it’s hard to get the right amount of med injected into the wax worms), but no one else has prolapsed either. sHEila has been an otherwise healthy, robust and active frog with a voracious appetite and great hunting skills… he jumped at and tried to eat a water droplet when I sprayed his keeper during his confinement, and I think he also jumped at a tiny flying insect that got in there (we’ve been invaded by these things this fall, not sure what they are). He also started croaking after I fed the other frogs and he didn’t get any crickets (calling me out maybe!) He is not a full grown frog, however, so I wondered, being young, and being medicated with Metro once a week (Sundays) how long SHOULD he fast… should I not feed him until Sunday when they get their medicated worm? or should I go ahead and give him a wax worm (they’re pretty small) tonight or tomorrow? I’m looking for night crawlers, which have been highly recommended by other FrogForum members, and give him no more than a one inch piece every other day until…? If I had to take him to a vet it would unfortunately only be able to be the Companion clinic up the street, as the closet herp vets are an hour away either direction and I have a malfunctioning car heater :( that and sHEila freaks out so much being in the small keeper that I worry the stress would do him more harm than anything. So far I have not had to manually assist the retraction either time.

    Any advice on feeding/fasting is much appreciated!

    ~Lisa/irThumper

  128. avatar

    Hi Lisa,

    Best to feed only when medicating for now…fasts do no harm…frogs seem well able to metabolically adjust to variable amounts of food, and will suffer no harm even with much longer fasts (assuming the animal is not already emaciated, etc). It’s common for prolapses to re-occur once the animal feeds and digests..in most cases, a stitch is necessary…this sometimes works after a week or so, although it can be a very difficult problem. Covering the transport container so that the frog cannot see out is useful when transporting to vet. I hope all goes well, pl keep me posted, best frank

  129. avatar

    Thanks much. I’m wondering something though, how do they urinate when stitched up? And these guys pee a lot!

    ~Lisa/irThumper

  130. avatar

    Hi,

    Frogs are able to recycle water taken in via the skin, store water (the fluid they release when stressed/handled is mostly stored water, not urine); ant when they are fasting, little ammonia is produced, lessening the need for excretion. Best, Frank

  131. avatar

    Good deal. I’m learning a lot. :)

    Thanks!

    ~Lisa/irThumper

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About Frank Indiviglio

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Being born with a deep interest in animals might seem unfortunate for a native Bronxite , but my family encouraged my interest and the menagerie that sprung from it. Jobs with pet stores and importers had me caring for a fantastic assortment of reptiles and amphibians. After a detour as a lawyer, I was hired as a Bronx Zoo animal keeper and was soon caring for gharials, goliath frogs, king cobras and everything in-between. Research has taken me in pursuit of anacondas, Orinoco crocodiles and other animals in locales ranging from Venezuela’s llanos to Tortuguero’s beaches. Now, after 20+ years with the Bronx Zoo, I am a consultant for several zoos and museums. I have spent time in Japan, and often exchange ideas with zoologists there. I have written books on salamanders, geckos and other “herps”, discussed reptile-keeping on television and presented papers at conferences. A Master’s Degree in biology has led to teaching opportunities. My work puts me in contact with thousands of hobbyists keeping an array of pets. Without fail, I have learned much from them and hope, dear readers, that you will be generous in sharing your thoughts on this blog and web site. For a complete biography of my experience click here.
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