Amphibian disease

Jay Redbond

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Hello all,
Please could you take some time to read this document.

Thank you
Jay
 

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Chinadog

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Its a sad state of affairs, isn't it. I'm certainly not anti pet trade, but the way things are done at the moment is wrong. Shipping huge numbers of herps all over the world via the wild animal street markets and selling them to anybody for next to nothing is asking for it. The low value of most petstore amphibians, especially Asian newts, or aquatic frogs means they are often bought on a whim by people who haven't the faintest idea how to properly care for them, let alone follow any anti disease protocol. I can't help thinking that if the importation of these creatures was regulated in some way, the price of the animals would be driven up meaning people would hopefully give it a little more thought before buying them to toss in with the turtles or tropical fish to die, or simply dumping them in a nearby pond when the novelty has worn off.
I'm not sure what the answer is, but the herp trade should be taking a good look at its self and coming up with some kind of plan before there's a knee jerk ban slapped on them by the powers that be.
 

Brynjar

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Its irony, when the amphibians greatest weapon against extinsion is toxic when mixing species, and the exact same abilety is destroying them
 

Mark

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Treating all waste water for hobbyists with large aquatic collections is going to be tricky. I have a very small collection and calculate I'd need around 5 litres of bleach a week based on 1 part bleach to 10 parts water. I'd be interested to learn more about the other disinfectants listed in the document and concentrations required for successful treatment.

Jay - what do you use at Slimbridge?
 

xxianxx

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This has actually made me very conscious of my own waste water, I'm setting up measures to treat everything before it goes down the drain. Anybody have an idea how much bleach (or other chemicals) is required to kill chytrid ? I can see Marks estimate but is that accurate ?
 

allied123

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This may be a stupid question but this outbreak is not only in the uk is it? I bought 2 ADF back in january with no problems, I didn't have to sign any papers and no mention was made about any disease, however when I bought another frog (who has been kept in total quarantine) in early may petsmart made me sign several papers about disease (I'm pretty sure it was about diseases the frog may have and/or could pass on to me, I forget the word for this now) and they didn't really give me the time to read them...just shoved them in my face and said oh yeah sign here. However I think their main concern was more for me signing away liability in case the frog gave me salmonella or something? again I could not fully read the paper and it was a few months ago...

And again sorry if this is a dumb question but I keep hearing about chytrid and I'm very concerned...
 

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I can see a complete ban in the UK on Exotics. Even Licensing would be better than a ban , but can't see us having a good enough argument for keeping our animals. Far too many escapees and careless releases of captive animals.
 

manderkeeper

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getting your animals tested is cheaper than treating the water forever. I had every animal I own tested and all came back negative. I'm sure there is a cheaper source of bleach if you use mass quanitities and if you have hundreds of animals coming in and out a year, month, or week, treating forever is the only practical solution. A good reason just to hang on to your animals and not always be buying, selling, and trading everything.

The cost of treating the water until the tests came back wasn't too bad esp since I only have terrestrial species! I don't think banning keeping of animals will be too effective at protecting wildlife, literally every piece of land is going to be consumed as the human population continues to advance toward carrying capacity. As terrible as this is, the largest problem is still being ignored -- the ever increasing populations of humans and the habitat destruction, degradation, and fragmentation it requires to continue this advancement.
 

Chinadog

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I don't think banning keeping of animals will be too effective at protecting wildlife.

It certainly wouldn't do them any harm at this point, would it.
Don't get me wrong, I love my hobby, but on the rare occasions I go to reptile/herp shops for supplies I leave feeling almost guilty by association. Its normally possible to find amphibians kept at the wrong temperature, or wrong set up completely, Mixed species of stressed tortoises/turtles cooped up in tiny vivarium type enclosures with bubbling noses, closed eyes or even shell injuries from being dug out the ground for export while hibernating in their homelands. I don't know anything about snakes or lizards, but seeing how they perform with other species its probably a similar story with those as well.
As the years roll on, we're increasingly distanced from the wildlife around us and herps are a good way to teach kids respect and curiosity for the natural world, but not when the animals involved are sick/dying when bought.
I would hate to see herp keeping banned, I really would, but we do ourselves no favours, sometimes.
 

Mark

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I imagine each country will address the threat in it’s own way depending on how high up wildlife is on the agenda. Chances are there will be some blanket bans on the movement of amphibians across borders. In the meantime we must do what we can to be responsible hobbyists by following the guidelines above. Bsal is an opportunity to show that lessons were learn’t from Bd. However, action is required now and the legislative wheels turn slowly.
 

Jay Redbond

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Hello all,

To answer your question Mark I use Virkon it costs about £2000 a year to treat all the water exiting all the amphibian areas. So 400 plus animals 60 species, that's not too bad in the grand scheme of things.

I don't think there will be a ban, but it could happen so we need to start acting know.

It is not just about Chytrid ther4e are other pathogens that we are yet to detected that could be coming into the country with our exotic amphibians that may affect our natives. Getting them tested and getting negative results does not mean you don't have chytrid, you can get false negatives. We had a group of Whites treefrogs here for over 5 years they had been tested for chytrid over 10 time and all coming back negative. Then one died and we got them tested, because the vet was adamant it was chytrid, we had them tested lots at this point over a number of months and after the 6 swab it was positive for chytrid. So treat all animals as carries and don't assume they are clear.

Hope this helps a little, hate to be the barer of bad news it is a pain in my bum too.

Kind Regards
Jay
 

Chinadog

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I'm going to get my small collection tested in the next few weeks, will every animal need testing individually, or would one animal from each tank be enough, especially where juveniles are concerned?
 

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I've only recently understood that there's a problem (bd/bsal) that concerns also me through my newts. So far, I've just let the waste water down the toilet without any treatments, thinking water cleaning company will treat it... :( So, here some basic questions to make sure that I understood right:
- treating water with bleach 1 to 10 is the amount but what else? Do you stirr it, let it stay for a while or just put the bleach into water and then down the drain? If you use Virkon, is it tablets or flour or what sort?
- with moss, plants, decorations you could also use total drying, for example sauna? Is 80 celsius degrees enough or has that been measured in any studies? Maybe easier to treat them with bleach as well if they're not going back to tank any more...
- as I have some fishes that were kept with the newts together in their previous homes, should I assume they are carriers, too?

Now that I'm thinking this, I feel it's no longer safe to change plants/sand/shrimps/anything with other hobbyists/aquarium hobbyists from any of my four tanks since there might be a carrier of Bd/Bsal in every tank! And I guess it's better to think so than just close my eyes - I love those few species we have around as native and would never want them to disappear. (or maybe I'm now too paranoid since I don't have a clear idea of this yet???)
 

Jay Redbond

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I've only recently understood that there's a problem (bd/bsal) that concerns also me through my newts. So far, I've just let the waste water down the toilet without any treatments, thinking water cleaning company will treat it... :( So, here some basic questions to make sure that I understood right:
- treating water with bleach 1 to 10 is the amount but what else? Do you stirr it, let it stay for a while or just put the bleach into water and then down the drain? If you use Virkon, is it tablets or flour or what sort?
- with moss, plants, decorations you could also use total drying, for example sauna? Is 80 celsius degrees enough or has that been measured in any studies? Maybe easier to treat them with bleach as well if they're not going back to tank any more...
- as I have some fishes that were kept with the newts together in their previous homes, should I assume they are carriers, too?

Now that I'm thinking this, I feel it's no longer safe to change plants/sand/shrimps/anything with other hobbyists/aquarium hobbyists from any of my four tanks since there might be a carrier of Bd/Bsal in every tank! And I guess it's better to think so than just close my eyes - I love those few species we have around as native and would never want them to disappear. (or maybe I'm now too paranoid since I don't have a clear idea of this yet???)

Hello,

Its great to hear that you feel like this I am very pleased with everyone's response from this document it all seems positive.

I would leave the bleach in for around an hour, with Virkon I leave it for 30 minutes. If you want to be extra cautious leave it over night it wouldn't do any harm.

Virkon comes in powder form.

With plants and substrate coming in try and use kiln treated substrate or dry blocks like coir. I use a mixture of pond compost and coir for all the amphibians at Slimbridge. You can buy dry bails of moss or just dry it yourself which helps prevent stuff coming into your collection. With new animals we incinerate the substrate but with animals who have past the 6 month quarantine we double bag the waste and throw in general waste.

I would assume anything that is wet could be potentially caring chytrid spores. So when you get daphnia and bloodworm make sure you rinse it first with fresh water which is a good way to clean off any potential pathogens.

Just remember its not just Chytrid there are other diseases like Rana virus and ones that we don't know about yet.

Kind Regards
Jay
 

Jay Redbond

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I'm going to get my small collection tested in the next few weeks, will every animal need testing individually, or would one animal from each tank be enough, especially where juveniles are concerned?

Hello,

Here at Slimbridge we group swab, so use 1 swab for 4-5 animals of the same species. Obviously they are from the same tank, this will give you a greater chance of picking up spores if you swab more animals. Its also much more cost affective.

Thanks
Jay
 

AuSu

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Still one guestion, does anybody know would uv-c sterilizer work with these kind of viruses and fungi? I've seen some that are used cleaning foot therapy equipment and I assume there are various fungi etc. in peoples feet...in aquarium use these are told to help vith health and algae but that's all I've found so far (quite a quick search, though).
 

Chinadog

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I've been wondering the same thing as I run UV sterilisers on most of my aquariums and on my Koi pool. In theory they should kill all bacteria that pass through the UV light, but I don't know about virus or fungal spores?
 

Stupot1610

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I've just had all of my newts and salamanders tested for Bd and Bsal. It was a very interesting experience having the animals swabbed, and I'm anxiously anticipating the results which should be back by next Friday. It will be interesting to see what shows up, or doesn't for that matter!! Someone came up from ZSL to swab all my newts and salamanders and explained the whole Bd/Bsal situation which was fascinating and very insightful. This was part of a study so it was all done for free, great when you consider swabs normally cost £25 each! Unfortunately they didn't want to swab my anurans (which I have more of than newts and salamanders currently) so if I want to find out what they're carrying/not carrying I'll have to pay for the swabs - which I won't do unless something unusual shows up.
When I dispose of water I throw the buckets of water out onto a patch of gravel in my garden (chosen because the gravel is sharp so amphibians and their food don't venture onto this patch).
 
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