Morbidity and Mortality of Panamanian Golden Frogs (Atelopus zeteki) in a Zoologic Collection, 2001–2008
American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Conference 2009
Allison N. Wack1, DVM; Sarah Beck2, DVM; Ellen Bronson1, Vet Med, DACZM
1Maryland Zoo in Baltimore, Druid Hill Park, Baltimore, MD, USA; 2Department of Molecular and Comparative Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA


The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore is holder of the largest breeding colony of Panamanian golden frogs (Atelopus zeteki) in North America, dating back to the 2001 wild collection of the founder population as part of Project Golden Frog. Population in the collection has ranged from approximately 300 to 750 individuals, with variation primarily due to export to other institutions. Mortality rate has been fairly constant, although a spike in mortality associated with staff turnover and movement of the collection was seen in 2004. There have been 247 necropsies with histopathology, performed primarily at the Johns Hopkins University. A primary cause of death (COD) was identified in 130 (52.6%) cases. The most common COD was fungal dermatitis (63%). Fungal species were considered similar to Saprolegnia and Basidiobolus histologically. Other frequent CODs were: euthanasia (12.3%), gastrointestinal disease (7.8%), bacterial sepsis (4.6%), and renal failure (3.8%). Regardless of COD determination, histopathology was noted in the following subset of organs with high frequency: skin (73.3%), gastrointestinal tract (38.8%), kidney (27.5%), liver (26.7%), and lung (14%). A review of morbidity was also undertaken, with 285 cases identified. The most frequent causes of morbidity were paresis (29%), dermatitis (19%), edema (11%), hyphema (4%), and uveitis (4%).


Speaker Information
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Allison N. Wack, DVM
Maryland Zoo in Baltimore
Druid Hill Park
Baltimore, MD, USA

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