Home | Reptile and Amphibian Health | Methylene Blue as a Treatment Option for Fungal, Protozoan and Bacterial Infections in Frogs and Salamanders: Amphibian Health

Methylene Blue as a Treatment Option for Fungal, Protozoan and Bacterial Infections in Frogs and Salamanders: Amphibian Health

 

A common drawback in dealing with pathogen outbreaks among captive amphibians is the great sensitivity of most species to available medications.  Drugs formulated for fish, used as a soak or bath, have great potential.  However, amphibians absorb liquids over a much greater surface area than do fishes – in some cases with the entire skin surface – and it is therefore difficult to ascertain proper dosages.  Dose reduction is largely a hit-and-miss prospect, as each amphibian differs in absorption ability – medication failure and patient death are all too frequent.

A Malaria Medicine Rescues Stranded Tadpoles

Methylene Blue, a compound that found favor in 1891 as a human anti-malarial agent (and subsequently lost favor due to its propensity to turn the urine green and the whites of the eyes blue!) is one of the safest medications to use with amphibians.  It is widely used as a fish medication, but often overlooked by those working with amphibians.  I was first impressed by its benign nature when called to rescue several hundred American bullfrog tadpoles from the bottom of a recently drained pond in NYC.  The tadpoles had been flopping about for over an hour by the time I arrived, and were all cut up and bleeding.

Without much hope of success, I transferred the tadpoles to several plastic garbage cans and added Methylene Blue at a concentration a bit higher than recommended for fish.  Normal procedure would have been to use ½ fish strength and gradually increase the dosage while observing the tadpoles’ reactions, but such takes time and these fellows had little of that.  I was surprised to see no signs of stress, and astonished the next morning when most looked quite well.  Eventually, a great many recovered.

Use Methylene Blue

I have since used Methylene Blue in private and public collections for a range of amphibians, including Argentine horned frogs, spotted salamanders and Surinam toads.  It has been successful against fungus (most likely Saprolegnia) and certain bacteria associated with wounds and “red leg”.  I’ve had mixed success in using it to combat fungus on amphibian eggs (smoky jungle frog, bell frogs, poison frogs) – the results likely depend upon the species of fungus involved.  I begin with ½ the fish dose and a soak time of approximately 1 hour – gradually increasing both if necessary.  For eggs, I dilute the Methylene Blue in water and then use an eye dropper to place it on the eggs (approximately 1 drop per 2 inch square of egg mass).

Treated amphibians will be stained blue for awhile (as will your hands if you do not wear gloves), but results have been very good.  Where the compound has not worked, it at least caused no harm, and therefore lent the option of using alternative medications.

 

Drug resistant strains of malaria have researchers once again investigating the use of Methylene Blue as a treatment option for people.  An interesting article regarding this is posted at:

http://www.malariajournal.com/content/4/1/45

71 comments

  1. avatar

    ok frank –
    the m blue came in today-going to try it out-
    thanx again mark

  2. avatar

    Hello Mark, Frank Indiviglio here.

    I hope all goes well; results vary – we have a great deal to learn, so please let me know your results.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  3. avatar

    ok frank-
    after one day of 1/2 fish dose the aliment on the males foot has improved greatly i would say in 3 days it will be healed

  4. avatar

    Hello Mark, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for taking the time to write in. Such a quick response is promising news indeed, and not all that common.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  5. avatar

    hello frank-after weeks of treament im sorry to inform you that my toad did not make it-the diease must have gotten the better of him -howveer the female is doing absolutly great
    thanks mark

  6. avatar

    Hello Mark,

    Thanks for the update and sorry for the bad news. The initial improvement that you saw involved the external infection. However, the infection no doubt had become septic and was being spread internally. When this happens, injectible antibiotics are the only effective treatment option, and even these fail if not given early on. Unfortunately, most Surinam toads in the trade are wild caught…problems such as that suffered by your animal are not uncommon.

    Good luck with the female and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  7. avatar

    I have amphibians eggs, that always die with hollow bellies at larvae or white spots. I am sure they are fungi, can anyone recommended a centration of methylene blue to protect eggs??/ THanks

  8. avatar

    Hello Martin, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog. There really are no clear guidelines yet – what works seems to depend on the type of fungus and the species (please write back and let me know what species are involved). I usually start at ½ the fish dose, but most eggs can take the full dose recommended for fishes. I’ve gone as high as a full drop per Poison Frog egg mass.

    Fungus on larvae may not be related to egg fungus, as when eggs are infected the larvae usually do not hatch; worth looking into, however.

    Good luck and please let me k now how it goes,

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio

  9. avatar

    I need help..urgent..how to cure american bullfrog white eyes n red legs diseases…???n what is the main reason for this diseases???

  10. avatar

    Hello Elis, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog and sorry to hear about your frog. Red leg is a general term for a bacterial infection. It often takes hold when ammonia levels (from the frog’s waste products) are allowed to rise in the tank. Also a skin injury can leave an opening for bacteria, which are always present, to attack. You can try the methylene blue treatment outlined in the article, but the fact that white eyes are present indicates a very serious problem; fungus may have taken hold as well. Your best option would be a vet visit – please let me know if you need help in locating a vet in your area.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

  11. avatar

    thanks frank..i am from sabah,malaysia,,where can i find this methylene blue treatment??i do visit vet but here they dont have medication for that..

  12. avatar

    Hello Elis, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog. Perhaps tropical fish medications are easier to find? Methylene blue is a common ingredient in several, and is also sold in pure form for tropical fish. Also, other types of fish medication are worth trying, i.e. a general anti-bacterial/anti-fungal. Start with ½ the recommended dose for fish, since frogs absorb the medication over a greater surface area than do fish. In the meantime, keep the water clean, and a cooler location is better than warmer. Labs sometimes cure redleg by keeping frogs in refrigerators at 38-40F. The frog’s immune systems work (temperate species such as Am. Bullfrogs) well at that temperature, and the bacteria sometimes die-off. Fish meds and refrigeration are risky, but the frog will not survive without treatment so worthwhile in my opinion.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  13. avatar

    thanks frank,what should i do with my frogs that infected with white eyes already???n can this diseases spread to other frogs also..??

  14. avatar

    Hello Elis, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog.

    Yes, any fugal/bacterial disease is highly contagious. It’s possible that some of the medications mentioned earlier may help the eye problem, but without a determination of the type of fungus involved its not really possible to be certain.

    Most of the American Bullfrogs that arrive in Malaysia come in through the food trade and are bred under crowded conditions that encourage red leg and similar diseases; same true of food trade here in the US….unfortunately, it’s difficult to obtain healthy animals if they originated in the food trade.

    Good luck and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  15. avatar

    I have several captive axolotls, who have been diagnosed with a protozoan infection that looks like white cotton balls on their body. Do you think it would be safe to treat them with this product and do you think it will help?

  16. avatar

    Hello Kim, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog. I have used methylene blue on axolotls with success. I stayed with ½ the fish dosage and did not increase over time as aquatic amphibians absorb medications over such a large area.

    It does not work on all protozoan species, and if the infection is also internal then success is less likely. I’m assuming the diagnosis was made by a veterinarian?…if so, I would first check back with the doctor as to treatment, as there are other options. I should be able to put her/him in touch with a vet who is an amphibian specialist if that might be helpful.

    Good luck and please let me know how all goes…it is very useful to have feedback on amphibian medical cases.

    Happy Holidays, Frank Indiviglio.

  17. avatar

    Hi Frank ,
    Your websites conscerning Pipa pipas are great ! I got in 4.3 group of Pipa pipa . I have them in a 65 gallon Cube/Breeder tank , 76F , 6.5PH , and they all seem to be happy thus so far . I got the group in this past thursday. I’ve noticed on a couple of the specimens , there is a white patch , not really fungus like , no fuzzy or hairy , but more of a rub spot . There’s only a couple of these spots on these particular animals. Could these spots be from international shipping ? Or could you describe these particular fungus white spots Pipas get ? Thanks for your help!
    Reg

  18. avatar

    Hello Reg

    I appreciate the kind words, thank you. If the spots seem not to be fungus, or red, then they are likely abrasions as you suggest. Keep an eye on them, however, as things can progress quickly. Stress-Coat and similar products designed to replace the slime coat on tropical fishes may be useful.

    I’m a little concerned about the number of animals…7 adults in a 65 gallon tank is risky. Like most aquatic amphibs, they excrete wastes in a highly toxic state, and ammonia levels build very quickly, especially given the volume of food they’ll be eating… however, you will not notice an odor or discoloration. Use a very good filter but even so, I’d suggest at least a 50% water change weekly. I had a great deal of trouble with highly contagious bacterial skin infections/septicemia when I kept groups, even in larger tanks than the one you’re using now.

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

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  19. avatar

    Ok awesome responce …. How many adults could I safely keep in a tank at that size ? I do have a 40 gallon breeder tank but i believe it’s only about 1.5 foot tall , if I have to , I could seperate some adults and put them in the 40 breeder tank .

  20. avatar

    Hello Reg

    Thanks for the feedback. Perhaps try 4 in the 65, 3 in the other. Stay with same water change and use ammo-chips plus carbon if filter allows. Keep an ammonia test kit handy, but bear in mind that ammonia is not the whole story. Most Pipa pipa in the trade are wild caught, and thus will be harboring parasites. Water changes and ample water volume helps keep some of these in control.

    One commercial Xenopus breeder uses Nutrafin Cycle as a safety measure…would be worth a try for you, I believe. Please see here for more info, and please let me know how all goes…

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

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  21. avatar

    Yes , I keep central american and south american cichlids , along with Mata mata turtles fort. ( thus so far ) with success . I have the water testing kit and a KH tester kit as well I use for my fishes and turtles. I am appoarching keeping Pipa pipa in the same manner as keeping Mata mata as they reside in the same river and locale. I will take your advice and seperate tommorrow the group tommorrow. Thanks a million for your help !!

  22. avatar

    Hello Reg

    Great…I think there is some overlap; I was lucky enough to work in mata matas habitat (Venezuela) for a time – black water teeming with a mind-blowing array of fishes. Unfortunately, never turned up a Pipa at the time…

    In case of interest, here’s an article on matas and goldfish, along with a photo of a large specimen that turned up in a food market.

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

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  23. avatar

    Frank ,
    Oh man that’s a really interesting article . I’ve always heard of problems with goldfish thus I’ve always stayed away from them as feeders , I only keep the fancy goldies as pets. I feed my south american leaf fishes , mata matas , and ( now ) Pipa pipas a variety , ie Feeder Guppies , Platy , and other live bearers. I will be feeding the Pipa pipa nightcrawlers and maybe try Ghost shrimps on occassion . Talk soon ! , Reg

  24. avatar

    Hello Reg

    Glad to see you have wide interests…we generalists are a dying breed. Leaf fishes are great favorites of mine, and I enjoy goldfishes and koi as well.

    The diet you describe is perfect. Wish we knew more about the goldfish problem, but the evidence seems clear, so best to play it safe.

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

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  25. avatar

    I am pretty new to the African Clawed frog scene…..I purchased 2 of them at a pet store about a year ago, one dyed green and one orange, they were barely larger than my thumb. (I think it is horrible to “dye” them, but they were the only kind available in my area). The Green one died within a few days, but the orange one was strong and has been thriving Very well since……on to my question……I have recently added two black moore goldfish to her tank (I found out that she is a female because I have noticed that she has been laying eggs everywhere :} I put the Fish in last week and have noticed that one has what looks like Ick on it’s side. I was wondering if I should treat the tank with Methylene Blue and quarantine the fish in another tank and treat them too, and wait until the “Fungus” goes away before I re-introduce them into the tank with the frog. That way I can do the 1/2 dose on the frog tank and a full dose on the quarantine tank to make sure the fish get all of the medicine that they need, and as a precaution dose for the frog so she will not get infected. Or, can I keep the frog and fish together and safely do a Full dose on the whole tank……Oops….almost forgot, there is a Placo in her tank also……and will she turn Blue??????? (the frog, because she is albino) Not that a Blue frog is bad. She is a very valued member of our family, so I want to do all possible things to keep her healthy. (also, should I remove the crabon filter while I do this?
    Thanks!
    Darlene

  26. avatar

    Hi Darlene,

    Interesting to hear that the frog survived…I’ve not had much feedback from people with dyed frogs. Is it still orange?

    Ick is actually a parasitic infection…best to use a specific ick medication; if you are not sure that it is ick, then a broad-spectrum medication would be best. Frogs can catch it, but rarely do. Better to remove the frog and treat the tank, since there may be free-swimming parasites in the tank as well as on the fish. Plecos are sensitive to some medications (lack the complete scale protection of other fishes)…the instructions of the med you use will specify if dosage needs to be modified for catfishes.

    Clawed frogs are very hardy, but sensitive to ammonia poisoning (plecos as well, goldfish less so)…be sure to do regular partial water changes, and maintain your filter properly; as the frog grows, it produce more ammonia, so you’ll need to keep up with that. The frog may also harass the fish. Fish add quite a bit of ammonia etc to the tank…may be best to limit numbers or consider a separate or larger aquarium as they grow.

    Below are links to articles on African Clawed Frogs..please keep me posted and let me know if you need anything, Best Frank
    http://blogs.thatpetplace.com/thatreptileblog/2011/11/29/feeding-african-clawed-frogs-the-two-best-diets/
    http://blogs.thatpetplace.com/thatreptileblog/2013/01/17/the-best-filters-for-axolotls-clawed-frogs-newts-and-other-amphibians/
    http://blogs.thatpetplace.com/thatreptileblog/2010/04/07/a-readers-diet-for-the-filter-feeding-tadpoles-of-the-african-clawed-frog/
    http://blogs.thatpetplace.com/thatreptileblog/2011/08/09/breeding-the-african-clawed-frog/
    http://blogs.thatpetplace.com/thatreptileblog/2008/06/03/african-clawed-frog-xenopus-laevis-behavior-%E2%80%93-has-anyone-else-observed-this/
    http://blogs.thatpetplace.com/thatreptileblog/2011/12/23/amphibian-abuse-neon-dyed-frogs-wildly-popular-in-chinese-pet-stores/

  27. avatar

    Frank,
    Thanks for the quick response…..She is no longer orange, and I must admit, she looks a lot better in her natural Albino skin. :-)

    I do partial water changes (1/2 – 3/4) each week, but the water stays a bit cloudy…..I have a small hex tank that she grew up in, so I will transfer her to that tank when I treat the big tank.

    Thanks for the advise, and I will keep you posted.

    Darlene

  28. avatar

    Thanks for the update, Darlene.

    Good luck and please let me know if you need anything, Frank

  29. avatar

    Hello Frank!

    I just started taking care of an ailing gulf coast toad (I. nebulifer) for a friend that will be away for the holidays. For the past two weeks or so the toad has been lethargic and hasn’t had an appetite. It has developed dark, somewhat reddish patches of skin on its ventral surfaces (lower belly and hind limbs), and does not sit or move as toads typically do (i.e., sits with legs splayed, not underneath it; doesn’t respond to stimuli). I’ve kept multiple species of amphibians for a few years now, but have never had a frog or toad exhibit these symptoms, so I’m hoping that you might be able to give me some advice. My friend has asked me to take whatever medical actions that I think might help while he is away.

    I read earlier comments about Methylene Blue, but I’m concerned that the red patches indicate a systemic issue that MB wont be able to solve. We don’t have a local vet that has experience with amphibians. I just received the toad today, and plan on isolating it in a separate room from my amphibians, as well as moving it in to a more sterile set up. What else might you suggest that I do for this toad?

    Also, I’m generally concerned because my friend has been keeping multiple toads and has had a few individuals die after exhibiting all of the aforementioned symptoms, except for the reddish patches of skin. Only one individual had edema, but each toad eventually wound up dying with splayed hind legs. He makes an effort to feed his toads a varied diet of wild caught insects and invertebrates (including a lot of worms), but has not been using any kind of calcium or vitamin supplement. I’m wondering if he might have a general bacterial issue, and wanted to know if I should suggest that he give his tanks a thorough clean and that he houses the toads at lower densities (I think there are currently 4-6 approximatley 2 inch [snout to vent length] toads in a 10 gal tank). How many southern toads would you suggest housing in a 10 gallon tank? The remaining toads currently seem healthy.

    Thanks for any advice that you can give me.

  30. avatar

    Hello Jen,

    It does sound like what we commonly term red leg; unfortunately when as far advanced as you describe, the infection is likely systemic and would not be helped much by methylene blue. Refrigeration at 40 F or so has helped with leopard frogs and some others, but it may be too late at this point. If a vet is not available (let me know if you need lists) then methylene blue might be worth a try.

    Multiple animals with these symptoms usually indicates that the tanks are not being cleaned well. Troublesome bacteria are always present, and buildup to dangerous densities very quickly. Also, ammonia from the toads’ waste products that accumulates in substrate or water can cause tiny breaks in the skin and other injuries, allowing for quicker colonization by bacteria, fungi. How many animals one can keep depends somewhat on cleaning schedule, depth and type of substrate, etc, but I would not house more than 2 in a 10 gallon.

    Dietary variety is important, and earthworms are an ideal food source (please linked articles) but supplements are usually necessary as well. I favor ReptiCalcium and Reptivite.
    http://bit.ly/eyRJ2E
    http://bit.ly/asjzz2
    Please let me know if you need further info., b est, Frank

  31. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Thank you for your prompt reply. Unfortunately, I’m sorry to say that the gulf coast toad died last night soon after I brought it home. I’ll stress to my friend that more cleaning and lower densities are necessary.

  32. avatar

    Hi Jen,

    Even with vet attention, they rarely survive once at that stage. Let me know if you need anything, or feel free to have your friend be in contact, best, Frank

  33. avatar

    Hi Frank

    I am currently trying the method on my 2.2 T verrucosus group. I had noticed an open wound on the “tip of the nose” of one of my newt, but assumed it came from a bite form a tank mate during feeding (they are ferocious), but noticed that a couple of them have become semi lethargic and stopped feeding, and sadly, one of my males died a couple of day after I noticed this.

    I have started the methylene blue treatment three days ago, and while the open wound on my remaining male show no change, he still appears energetic and feeds well; the two females are more alert, and less aqua-phobic, and one even took a small earthworm from the tweezers yesterday.

    My question is, how long would you continue treatment? How do you decide when to stop?

    Regards.

    J.

  34. avatar

    Hello J,

    Unfortunately there aren’t many set guidelines. I and others have had to experiment and change with each situation. I’d say to give them a break for a day or 2 now; repeat 1x if seems prudent after that. Always good to consider that something else may be going on…all would not likely change behavior etc so quickly due to an infection in a single animal. You’d see changes in the one animal, perhaps nothing in others or if a skin infection were involved then signs of fungus, ulcers etc. Might be a good idea to have vet check fecal samples for parasites.

    Please keep me posted, best, Frank

  35. avatar

    Hi Frank,

    Just a quick update, I have followed your advice and gave them 3 days rest, and yesterday gave them one final dosing f one hour at the full concentration advised for fish. My surviving male and one female seemed to have reacted very well, taking offered earthworm and being relatively active round the tank, but one female still worried me, having no interest in food, and whilst not totally hydrophobic, spending much time on the haul-out root…

    Today, that last female entered the water and took a couple of small earthworms! I am not declaring victory just now, but consider myself cautionously optimistic… which I was not until now as I have seen similar condition tare through and annihilate amphibian groups in the past.

    Thank you very much for your advise, I’ll let you know how things are doing in a week or two, fingers crossed.

    J.

  36. avatar

    Hello,

    Thanks for the update…just checking back, I hope all is going well, Best, Frank

  37. avatar

    Hi Frank

    your blog has by far been the best information on amphibian heath i have found while looking for treatments for my african clawed frogs.
    unfortunately thye have contracted a fungal infection showing on the skin as a thin almost furry membrane that is also attacking the delicate webbing of the feet and extremeties.
    i have just purchased some methylene blue abd intend to isolate the infected frogs in a hospital tank and treat the whole water with 1/2 the reccomended fish dose.
    do you agree this is the best action to take? i may also give a quick dip in a more concentrated solution to try to get to the fungus quick as it appears to have a good hold.
    i have also used API stress coat and pimafix but this has had little affect so hopefully this will solve the issue as i hate to see the little guys ill
    thanks

  38. avatar

    Hi and thanks for the kind words. Yes, I would start as you mention, hold off on concentrated dip for now…best to increase meds slowly. Some fungi do not respond to MB, but many will; please keep me posted, good luck, frank

  39. avatar

    where do you think i should go from here if it has no affect. the frogs are now happy in a fifteen liter tank treated with 2ml of MB/ 2ml of melafix to sooth skin irritation and sores and 2ml of stress coat.
    they are active and taking food which are all good signs
    also should i add more mb in 3 days as instructed for fish or hold out and see the affects first.
    thanks again
    iain

  40. avatar

    Hi Iain,

    I’d proceed as instructed for fish, hard to say what to do if meds do not work, best to observe and report back. probably best not to feed in the water treated with MB; they store up plenty of fat, no need to worry too much about missed meals unless animal is debilitated, best, Frank

  41. avatar

    Hello Frank,
    I move here the Whole matter, as you suggested!

    I got a male one and half month ago, from a quite good seller, and he was fine and ate defrozen minnow since beginning. After about 1 month, perhaps due to not too frequent water changes in his quarantine tank, he stopped to eat and I noticed his right hand red and 2 finger swollen.
    I begun to use Baytril, about 10mg/kg, dropped on his back (put him out of water in a low box on a soaked towel, lid covering and waiting 1-2 hours for the medicinal to be -hopefully- absorbed); and SSD on the sore hand, although it comes away once he enter water again.
    -With the same tratement I had rescued in a few days a Polypedates with similar, flesh-eating sores.
    But for this poor Pipa, no improving in 10 days ; and the fingertips are being gradually eaten away :(
    The soreness stay only in the right hand – although yesterday I noticed a rosy hue on the left half of his head, not sure if it’s due to abrasion (as a few SSD fell upon here and I removed with a dry scottex, perhaps ”scratching” on dry skin).

    I was suggested Deflamon too, but tried only for the first 2 days.

    Could I use (keeping him out of water for some times as I told ), a powdery antibiotic available here (Neomicin + Bacitracin + Lisine)?
    Or a Gentamicin based cream?

    Not working of Baytril could let to think to fungus, rather than bacteria? I wonder that the soreness stayed limited in his right hand if head pink hue is not related).
    I’ve just added some 3 cc of 1/1000 Methylene bleu at his tank.

    I send you a couple of pictures, how looks he right now, and devasted fingers’ details.
    Really hope you can give any hints, at least something to attempt!
    Thank you,
    http://i60.tinypic.com/2s7exir.png
    http://i58.tinypic.com/23u5yl2.png

    As to permanent bath I’ll keep him on, as you suggested, what Blue Methylen concentration would be the best? Please note I start with powder product, I made a solution, 1 gram BM in 1 liter water

  42. avatar

    Hello Fabrizio,

    Thanks for posting here…this is a common problem and others will be interested.

    I have seen the photos…no way to accurately diagnose w/o lab tests, etc., but the appearance is typical of a bacterial and fungal skin infection; commonly known as “red leg” in the trade. As mentioned, it can also become systemic and spread internally.

    I haven’t used the powder form, but looked into it and found the info copied below. Try at 1/2 the medication dose described there. if the frog shows no signs of discomfort, add more, up to the full dose. I generally dip as they suggest at first. If the frog seems okay, it might be best to leave him in the solution for a day or 2, then re-evaluate. I never use distilled water with amphibians (leaches electrolytes most likely)..the frog’s regular water will be fine to use.

    Risks are involved either way; but judging by the condition the animal will not survive, so I would risk the longer treatment. I hope all goes well, Frank

    Methylene Blue Powder: Add 1 tsp of powder to 8 oz of distilled water to make a 2.3% stock solution. Dose from stock solution at 1 tsp per 10 gallons of water. For a medicinal bath for treating sick fish, dose at 1 tsp per 5 gallons of water. Dip fish for 30 minutes. For ornamental fish use only.

  43. avatar

    Thanks a lot Frank, and I’ll try as you suggested! By the way, I notice no reddish areas on his abomen, legs or elsewhere since now, but ”red leg”’ could even appear as such a localized infection, apparently ? Should I continue Baytril (and topic SSD too) together with MB?

  44. avatar

    Yes…just a common name, as it often appeared on lower leg surfaces on leopard frogs, back when large numbers were kept as lab animals.

    I would continue with other meds also.

    I’m assuming there are no experienced veterinarians nearby?

    Best, Frank

  45. avatar

    Thanks again Frank . There are indeed, but Reptiles are much better known and treated ; as for Amphibian, as I am told by friends tht undergone similar problems, our vets too, act in quite an attemptive way, advanced diagnostic tools are not in current use and so ”general purpose” treatment are the more usual way win such cases, while a long moving could add stress, for sure… :( Hope this treatment would be useful, anyway I agree with you, trying (rationally) that rather than nothing!

    There would be any more (or different ) useful antibiotics, other than Baytril? Perhaps we met a resistent-strain, who knows…
    I read about Oxy-tetracycline PO (not a easy way but I would try my best), but really would’t dare to decide as myself.

    And any topical cream for mycosis, should fungi be involved too? Or MB is already enough for them?

    – As to MB doses, I see, a ”TEASPOON” as these I have here, is ABOUT 2,5 CC WATER ; does it correspond as to size, to the ones in your country?

    Thanks a lot,
    fabrizio

  46. avatar

    Hi fabrizio,

    yes, we still have much to learn…amphib diseases are difficult to deal with in zoos also.

    MB is effective against many fungi, but there’s really no way of knowing what species, how many species are involved.

    1 teaspoon = 5 cc (4.9 to be exact, but no need to be that specific).

    I hope all goes well, Frank

  47. avatar

    Thank you Frank, and hope our attempts would result in more and more solid knowledge, for the sake of all :)

    Then I have to re-adjust a little, dosages, but understand these aren’t that critcal.

    – I kept him for some 24 horus in a 0,3 mg/lt solution, the pale blue you saw on my facebook clip.

    -Last night, I added some and brought the concentration to about 1/mg liter, of the tank’s water.

    ( I read that 2 mg/litr is still quite few for ”curing” fishes, useful just for prevention – but I’m aware Amphibians absrd a great deal more through skin, so being cautious ).

    1) How long (approx) would you let him in such a bath?

    2) Should I radically increase dosage (but perhaps only for shorter baths)?

    3) What about keeping him in a weaker solution, but applying a much stronger concetration *only* upon injuried hand, by keeping the frog on wet towel for a while?

    4) What signs of ”discomfort” should I keep an eye upon, if dosage is not well tolerated? I see him more quiet, although posture seems normal.
    -Rosy hue on lefl half of his head seems to have disappeared, so perhaps it was due to irritation when I tried to ”scratch” away the SSD bit dropped on that area.

    If you need more pictures (even of the early stages) as they could be useful to other involved people, I would post them for sure.
    Thank you,
    fabrizio

  48. avatar

    Hi Fabrizio,

    Signs of discomfort would be scratching at the skin with the rear legs and trying to climb out of the water.

    Unfortunately, there is no way to guess at which of the protocols you’ve suggested would be best…I’ve only used MB as outlined in the article, and sometimes (in severe cases) at the fish strength round the clock, for several days. Again, the outlook is not good at this point, so experimenting would be worthwhile if you wish. best, frank

  49. avatar

    Thank you Frank.
    So I’ll continuate with MB Always in the tank ; what maximum concentration ( mg/L) coukd be still acceptable, for continuative bath? Hoping he will survive, a ”break” of a few days in simple water should be provided?
    thank you,

  50. avatar

    P S Although Pipa are tropical, lower temperatures could help as well to boost immunitary system? What minimum temperature, if the case?

  51. avatar

    Hi Fabrizio,

    I haven’t used the powder form….I would go with the concentration that I sent earlier, recommended by manufacturer: Methylene Blue Powder: Add 1 tsp of powder to 8 oz of distilled water to make a 2.3% stock solution. Dose from stock solution at 1 tsp per 10 gallons of water. For a medicinal bath for treating sick fish, dose at 1 tsp per 5 gallons of water. Dip fish for 30 minutes. For ornamental fish use only. ; but use continuously. I can’t say if a break would be useful or not at this point…infection is probably systemic, MB may not be effective,. I hope all goes well, Frank

  52. avatar

    Low temperatures have been used for temperate species, and can be somewhat effective. I do not think this would be the case for a Pipa, however, The vets I’ve worked with usually recommend keeping the animal at it’s optimal active temperature. Best, Frank

  53. avatar

    Found dead this morning :( had become quite lethargic and yesterdat evening I had put again in siimple water, seemed to recover motion ; but pinky hues had appeared on thights

    Can reasonably rule out woers causes, as ranavirus? I had had him since the end of November, and red fingers appeared a month ago

  54. avatar

    Hello Fabrizio,

    Very hard to turn them around once a severe infection sets in, even in zoos. Ranavirus is now being parroted all over the internet, but there is no way to ID any of the pathogens involved without lab cultures etc. Pl let me know if you need info on filtration etc. for future, best, Frank

  55. avatar

    Dear Frank,
    Do you do this soak only once and if not how often and how many times? This is for a Dart Frog tadpole that all four legs has now popped out. It’s still in the water and not came out yet. Is there anything else you can suggest? It has quit a bit of white spots.
    Thanks so much for sharing information.
    Dee

  56. avatar

    I should have also mentioned that the white spots have a cotton appearance.
    Thank you again, Dee

  57. avatar

    Hello Dee,

    There still are no set guidelines…flagella trial and error; animal’s general health and fungus species involved are important. But worth trying. Use a drop or 2 in 4 oz or so of water; leave 60 min and repeat daily for 3 days, then give a day off…again, this is just based on general experience. Please keep me posted, feedback very useful, best, frank

  58. avatar

    Thank you Frank. I already mixed a gallon up and did a soak in a new deli cup and put him back in fresh RO water with blackwater extract. Obviously the tadpole/froglet is pretty sick with seeing the amount of fungus on it so I’ve been doing some research on using aquarium salt ALSO but all I can find is people suggesting 1 tablespoon per 3 to 5 gallons and doesn’t say how long to leave the tadpole in this. I was considering separate soaks of salt and the Methylene Blue.
    Thank you again,
    Dee

  59. avatar

    You’re welcome, Dee.

    Some fungi respond to salt treatments, again no set protocols but perhaps alternate; you usually see negative reactions to salt right away…rapid swimming, etc. Use lowed concentration and watch..if no reaction, try leaving for 15 min. Salt seems harsher on amphibs in general that methylene blue, so er on side of caution, but well worth trying as animal is in bad shape, please et me know , best, frank

  60. avatar

    Thank you for responding. I will let you know.
    Take care, Dee

  61. avatar

    Good luck – break some new ground!

  62. avatar

    Update: This might be helpful to others: As you know I did your Methylene Blue soak a little earlier today. (1/2 the dosage recommended for fish) So a couple of hours ago I did the soak in the aquarium salt and RO water mix and he handled it just fine as well.:>) I mixed the Aquarium Salt & RO water at 1 teaspoon to 1 gallon which is the higher concentrate. (1 tablespoon to 3 to 5 gallons water) I still wanted to lower the concentrate more so I then put 1/3rd plain RO water to 2/3rd’s of the mix in a deli cup to dilute it to a lower concentrate and put the Dart Frog tadpole/froglet in. This is a Blue and Bronze. He/ she was doing so well after 15 minutes I let him stay another 10 minutes as I did end up finding where some people recommend 15 to 30 minutes. (Anybody doing this should make sure the water temperature is close to the same as the water you take the tadpole out of to avoid shock. This could easily result in death in an sick tadpole.) This tadpole was discovered with white cottony growth covering it’s entire tail and scattered all over it’s body. I could not see this through the deli cup (with the lighting I have) and discovered it when I saw his legs had popped out and I opened the lid so I could put him in a morphing container. (Betcha I get better lighting) This had happened some time during roughly a 24 hour period of time. After these soaks I already see at least a 1/3rd reduction of the fungus overall and the cottony appearance has gone down to just white spots much closer to the body. I’ll update as things progress, by tomorrow, good or bad. Hope this information helps.
    Thank again for all your help Frank,
    Dee

  63. avatar

    Sounds promising…thanks very much for the update, hope it continues to improve, best, frank

  64. avatar

    Update: It’s been 13 hours since Methylene Blue soak and 11 hours since the Aquarium Salt mix and the fungal growth is down to about 30% or less of what it started as. His skin has cleared up substantially. He is more active too. Now not staying at the top of the water all the time and now swimming to the bottom and darting around. So far I’m VERY happy with the results. It’s good to know that both treatments could be used (even within 2 hours of each other) with no apparent severe side effects thus far. I wouldn’t do both treatments at the same time or in the same water either. I would suspect (but don’t know) that maybe younger Dart Frog tadpoles might need to be put in a less concentrated solution of each to avoid bad side effects but only trials in such cases would tell us that. Age and the severity of the fungus could cause me to alter the concentrate of each but I don’t think I would up the concentrate of either when doing both soaking treatments as I did. Although not severe, he/she did become noticeably less active during the Methylene Blue soak and for a little while afterwards. In Dart Frog tadpoles I might consider trying the Methylene Blue soak at about 1/4 the dosage of fish and watch them for bad side effects. If they were doing well in the soak I would leave them in for up to (but no more) than a 2 hour soak each time. Let me know if I’m wrong but I suspect a lower concentration for a longer period would reduce the initial shock to the system and still achieve the same (or close to the same) dosage as 1/2 the dosage used for fish for an hour. As we are aware, different species and ages of tadpoles/frogs react differently to medications. If doing both soaks (due to how salt reacts in frogs/tadpoles) I would personally not reverse the treatments I did by instead doing the Aquarium Salt soak before doing the Methylene Blue soak unless there was MANY hours in between the two different soaking treatments. I hope my posted treatments and the tadpole/froglet response to such can also help others. Dee

  65. avatar

    Thanks very much, Dee. I’ll save your notes and pass along when needed. Not common to reverse decline once that far gone, great work, best, frank

  66. avatar

    Update: He’s still getting better. Fungus on skin and tail 90 to 95% gone. He’s very active. I’m doing another Methylene Blue soak now but this time I reduced the concentration to 1/4 of fish dosage and planning on leaving him up to 2 hours. He’s doing fine after being in there 1 hour and 30 minutes so far and still very active. Reducing the concentration seems to be less of a shock to his system. I’ll be doing another aquarium salt soak a couple of hours or so after the Methylene Blue soak. He’s absorbing his tail at a pretty fast rate now and he may be coming out of the water by tomorrow evening so doing treatments that act fast and successful is very important. I’m VERY happy with the results so far. So far no other tads have the fungus. I do think it’s important for people to share things like this because there’s just not enough information available for treating sick amphibians and there are WAY too few Veterinarians that know (or want to know) anything about them.
    Thanks so much again, Dee

  67. avatar

    Also, I am putting him in fresh RO water with Blackwater extract after each soak. I’ve noticed that there is lots of pieces of the fungus that fell off of him in his water so I didn’t want to put him back in that water after his soaks. Dee

  68. avatar

    Something else that may be helpful to know. When I first found him with the fungal infection I put him in a new deli cup and new RO Water with blackwater extract making sure the temperature of the water was similar to what he was in. (I use 6 cc’s of blackwater extract to 1 gallon of RO water.) Then after this, each time I do a soak, I pour out the old water he was in (while he’s soaking) and rinse out his deli cup with the diluted Methylene Blue mixture before adding the new (temperature correct) RO water and blackwater extract. I use a new white plastic spoon each time for transferring him from the deli cups.

  69. avatar

    Thanks, Dee, glad you are keeping notes…I’ll save as well, best, Frank

  70. avatar

    Update: I did a 25 minute soak in the Aquarium Salt water about 10 hours ago. It appears that doing soaks with both the Methylene Blue mix and the Aquarium Salt water mix has eradicated all the fungus off his skin within 36 hours or less. He’s doing great and appears so far that I’m going to have a happy healthy frog soon. One question is this, if it’s gone from the skin, was it internal as well and if so is it probably internally eradicated as well? I’m thinking about doing one more soak of each tomorrow but I don’t think I’ll need to do any more after that. I wish now I had taken pictures throughout this. It’s amazing how bad he looked when I first started treatments and in such a short time he now looks and acts perfect.
    Also, I know this is unrelated to the subject matter but I see that you have done a blog on adding Carotenoids (vitamin A) to fruit fly media for Strawberry Dart Frogs in the past. I do this with adding Spirulina to my media. If interested email me your phone number and I will explain and give you a treatment that worked on Calcium and Vitamin A deficient Dart Frog froglets. I suspect you know that this can be a major problem in Dart Frogs. It was froglets that I acquired from someone else before I knew much of anything about Dart Frogs. They were evidently deficient when I got them and not being able to catch food easily (lunging at food and not sticking out their tongues) which quickly turned to not eating at all and turning Calcium deficient (seizures) as well. I had to quickly educate myself on the problems and figure out a treatment. It has to do with putting diluted (to a specific amount) drops of a certain liquid Vitamin that contains Vitamin A Palmitate on their backs at certain times plus doing the same with diluted Calcium Gluconate. The Calcium treatment was available on the internet but a reasonable Vitamin A treatment for non eating tiny froglets (too small to force feed) was not so I had to figure out a treatment myself. The treatment worked like a charm and very quickly. I can explain more if we talk. I don’t have a way to post the info on the internet (like a blog) but maybe you might want to. I’m sure it would help a lot of people if it could be published on the internet in the right place.
    Thanks so much,
    Dee

  71. avatar

    Thanks, Dee., good news.

    Internal/systemic infection seems to depend on pathogen species, but also many factors we do not understand. Similarly, some cures work well for various ailments, but animals expire due to opportunistic bacteria, toll on immune system, die-off of helpful gut fauna, etc..we have much to learn, which is why firt hand experimentation such as yours is so worthwhile.

    I’m behind on several deadline now, but will keep your contact info and be in touch re the other soon.

    Thanks again, hope all continues to go well, frank

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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