Topical Administration of Recombinant Human Platelet-Derived Growth Factor to Aid Healing of Chronic, Dermal Ulcerations in a Giant Leaf Tree Frog (Phyllomedusa bicolor)
IAAAM Archive
Ian D. Walker; Brent R. Whitaker
National Aquarium in Baltimore
Baltimore, MD, USA


Chronic, progressive, lower extremity dermal ulcerations are commonly seen on the plantar surfaces of the feet of giant leaf tree frogs at the National Aquarium in Baltimore. The severity of these localized lesions at clinical presentation has varied from marked erythema and superficial wounds to deep ulceration with exposure of the underlying tendons. Frogs have exhibited systemic signs ranging from otherwise normal health to severe systemic disease. An etiology has not been established for this condition despite physical examination, cytology, culture and histopathology. Treatments have included topical and systemic antibiotics and antifungals, based on cytology, culture and sensitivity. These medications have had little effect, with small lesions occasionally appearing to be self-limiting, and larger lesions becoming chronic and eventually debilitating.

In this treatment trial, Regranex® (becaplermin), a recombinant, human, platelet-derived growth factor, was topically applied twice weekly following initial debridement of a large, chronic foot ulceration in a mature, breeding female frog. The lesion was monitored by detailed measurements, photography, and cytology over the course of eight weeks until complete re-epithelization of the lesion occurred.

To the authors' knowledge there is no published literature on the use of Regranex® in amphibians. The fact that no adverse clinical signs were observed and wound healing appeared to be quickened suggests that this drug can be used safely and effectively in these animals.


The authors wish to thank The Angiogenesis Foundation (Cambridge, MA 02238) that generously donated the drug Regranex® (Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical, Inc., Raritan, New Jersey 08869) for use in this treatment trial. In particular, Dr William Li, MD provided invaluable knowledge on wound healing and the proper method for applying Regranex®.

Speaker Information
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Ian D. Walker
National Aquarium in Baltimore
Baltimore, MD, USA

Brent R. Whitaker, DVM, MS
National Aquarium in Baltimore
Baltimore, MD