An Unusual Mortality Event in Captive Coqui Frogs (Eleutherodactylus coqui)
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2008
Denise McAloose1, VMD, DACVP; Marc Valitutto1, VMD; Paul Calle1, VMD, DACZM; Lisa Farina2, DVM, DACVP; Michael Garner3, DVM, DACVP; Timothy Georoff1, VMD; Darryl Heard4, BVMS, DACZM, PhD; Stephanie James5, DVM, DACZM; Christine Miller5, DVM; D. Robert Moore1, DVM; David Murphy6, DVM; Alisa Newton1, VMD, DACVP; Jennifer Pramuk1, PhD; Bonnie Raphael1, DVM, DACZM; Carlos Rodriguez1, DVM, DACVP; Chris Schiller7, DMV, DACVP; Maria Spriggs6, DVM; Debra Miller8, DVM, PhD
1Wildlife Conservation Society, Bronx, NY, USA; 2Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA; 3Northwest ZooPath, Monroe, WA, USA; 4Department of Zoological Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA; 5Miami MetroZoo, Miami, FL, USA; 6Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, Tampa, FL, USA; 7Antech Diagnostics, Irvine, CA, USA; 8Veterinary Diagnostic and Investigational Laboratory, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia, Tifton, GA, USA
Wild-caught coqui frogs (Eleutherodactylus coqui) from Hawaii were received by multiple AZA-accredited zoos in 2007. Upon arrival frogs were quarantined and separated into multiple tanks containing 5–10 animals. Environmental temperatures and humidity ranged from 70–85°F and 75–95%, respectively. All frogs were fed a diet of pin-head crickets and fruit flies. Intestinal nematodiasis was diagnosed at multiple facilities, and one or more anthelminthic treatments (fenbendazole, praziquantel, levamisole) were administered. Several animals at one zoo were polymerase chain reaction-positive for Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis. Mortality as high as 96% was experienced at all facilities within several weeks of animal arrival. Frogs were generally found dead with no premonitory signs. Supportive care and prophylactic therapy (amphibian ringer’s solution, enrofloxacin, itraconazole) was initiated in response to increasing animal deaths. Significant lesions in dead animals regardless of facility included hepatitis and hepatic necrosis, proliferative glomerulonephritis, splenic histiocytosis, vascular thrombosis and intestinal nematodiasis. Ranavirus polymerase chain reaction was positive in liver samples from several animals. All examined animals were histologically negative for B. dendrobatidis. These findings highlight the inherent risks of animal movement, intentional or unintentional, and the ease with which known, novel or emerging diseases can spread.