The dart frogs I keep are captive bred (CB). Some frogs are wild caught (WC) and some of the larger breeders may import WC animals into their collections that can bring diseases and parasites into their collection. In general newly acquired dart frogs are quarantined and monitored for eating and observations on behavior. While in QT, it’s possible to test for diseases and parasites that may be present in your new frogs.
What are we testing for?
There are two main groups of things we test for – Chytrid and Ranavirus – diseases that are tested for using a DNA test, and parasites that look for worms contained in the gut of the animal.
How do you test?
Chytrid and Ranavirus are tested for using a DNA analysis. Samples are taken from the frogs by “swabbing” their backs with a foam tip collector and submitting it to a DNA lab. Results are generally turned around within a day. Generally these two diseases are quite detrimental to amphibians and there is no known cure.
Parasites are tested for by collecting fresh fecal samples and sending them to a vet that is familiar with amphibian care. Those fecals are reviewed for the presence of worms or worm eggs, and if there is an issue the frogs can be treated with common medications.
What do results look like?
Parasite tests that I have run have been sent out to Dr. David Frye at the Milan Animal Clinic in Michigan. You overnight your frog poop to Dr. Frye, he analyzes them under a microscope and he gives you a call with the results. It’s quite an easy process, with a charge of $18 per test (can be groups of frogs) and about $20 in overnight shipping charges.
DNA test samples are not quite as sensitive as fecals, so slower shipping methods are OK. Foam swabs with the DNA samples are sent to the lab, and they are usually turned around in one day. The results I obtained from the latest round of testing are presented below: