Chytridiomycosis in Caecilians, Diagnosis and Treatment
World Small Animal Veterinary Association World Congress Proceedings, 2014
M. Rendle
Veterinary Department, ZSL London Zoo, London, UK

A group of 19 wild-caught Cameroon Blue Caecilians (Herpele squalastoma) were donated to the London Zoo; on arrival, one had escaped container and died (submitted for postmortem), others appeared slightly dehydrated but otherwise okay. Each animal was weighed, measured (total length), and a skin swab was taken for chytridiomycosis RT-PCR; each caecilian was then housed individually in a plastic tank with coir substrate and dried leaves and labelled 1–18.

Within three days number 17 had developed full-thickness skin lesions on its dorsal head and neck and exhibited signs of dehydration; the animal was given supportive treatment and humidity increased by providing a water body and a damp moss area within its enclosure. This animal died and was also submitted for postmortem.

The RT-PCR results showed that out of the 18 swabs submitted, 12 came back as positive for chytridiomycosis.

The decision was made to treat all caecilians for chytridiomycosis. Each caecilian was allocated a numbered ventilated opaque screw-top plastic pot and treated daily for 11 days, see attached protocol. All 14 remaining caecilians were re-swabbed 14 days post-treatment, and all RT-PCR results were negative.

Initial pathology results indicate high levels of zoospores around head and neck, and as such this should be the area focused on when swabbing.

Four weeks post-treatment, all 14 caecilians have gained weight and most have exceeded their arrival weight.


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M. Rendle
Veterinary Department
ZSL London Zoo
London, UK

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