Fecal, Rana and Chytrid test results

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Fecal, Rana and Chytrid test results

Postby joneill809 » Thu Jun 06, 2013 1:04 am

I recently acquired 3 sets of froglets from Herpetologic, 4 x Red Galacts, 4 x Bakhuis, and 4 x Lorenzos. After purchasing them I learned there was a concern about the health of some animals recently acquired through Herpetologic, so I figured I would test these three sets of animals for Chytrid, Ranavirus and have them fecaled. Honestly in the past I have only fecaled since all my animals have been captive bred. I was motivated to add the DNA testing to verify the newly acquired animals were Chytrid / RV free, but I was also interested in seeing how the DNA testing process worked. Most of you may already know this stuff, but I thought I would share my experiences and results.

Fecals
This was pretty straight forward. I followed Dr. Frye's handy instructions and overnighted samples to him for analysis. I used a cotton swab to pickup about 6 samples and placed them on a moist paper towel in a ziplock baggie. I labeled them and sent them off. I received a call from Dr. Frye later the next day with the results:

  • Red Galacts - high load of hook worm
  • Lorenzo - moderate hook worm
  • Bakhuis - moderate hook worm
Dr. Frye said he used the Red Galact sample as a teaching aide for his staff since the counts were so high :( I had Panacur on-hand, so I began treatment today. I should note that I did further grind the Panacur down with my mortar and pestle to get better adherence of the powder to the flies. Their first treatment was today. Cost was $18 per sample, and $20 shipping. I had the Panacur already, but I think that would add another $20 to the running cost.

DNA testing
This was more interesting for me because it was the first time I ran these tests. I exchanged email with Ernie Colaizzi at Research Associates Laboratory (vetdna.com). He was very helpful walking me through the collection process using tools I could find in local stores. His recommendation was to use foam tip makeup applicators to collect samples instead of cotton swabs. He said the foam releases DNA better and allows for detection of low level infections.

I picked up gloves and applicators:
photo 1.JPG
Disposable gloves from HD...
photo 1.JPG (36.53 KiB) Viewed 3303 times

photo 2.JPG
Foam applicators...
photo 2.JPG (31.94 KiB) Viewed 3303 times

I collected samples on Sunday night. I did not get pictures of the process since it was only me and there were 12 jumpy frogs bouncing around that required two handles to wrangle. I managed to swab all four frogs within each group. I swabbed their backs, and I managed to swab the legs and bellies of most (but not all). I used one swab per group. After swabbing I sealed the foam applicator in a small ziplock bag, filled out the online form (one for each swab) and then stapled the ziplock back to each form.

I mailed them out on a Monday morning. Results were back Wednesday afternoon - negative all the way around!
RV-CH testing 20130605 galact.png
Galacts - negative

RV-CH testing 20130605 bakhuis.png
Bakhuis - negative

RV-CH testing 20130605 lorenzo.png
Lorenzo - negative

The blacked out sections are my account number and address. The total cost was $120 plus about $3 for shipping an envelope. The fee breakdown was $20 for Chytrid and $20 for Ranavirus for a total of $40 per group. With three groups, my total was $120.

That was my experience with the testing. It's pricey but it was well worth the piece of mind. So per group, I'd break down the costs for testing as:
  • $18 fecal
  • $20 overnight USPS
  • $20 Chytrid
  • $20 Ranavirus
  • $3 USPS mail / large envelope
  • $81 estimate for a single round

I did reduce the shipping costs by testing three groups at once, but that gives you a rough idea of the outlay for a first round of tests. I found the process interesting and thought I'd share my experiences with the process. Now on to dealing with those hooks!
Jim from Austin please contact me if you are willing to trade offspring from:
lorenzo - schwinn line|NAIB true sips|fantastica nominant
http://www.oneillscrossing.com/dart-frogs/

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Re: Fecal, Rana and Chytrid test results

Postby joneill809 » Thu Jun 06, 2013 10:58 am

I should say I did not want this to be "my" thread but rather a place for us to share information on results and testing practices. So please feel free to add your thoughts and experiences. Thanks for fixing up the thread title Phil!
Jim from Austin please contact me if you are willing to trade offspring from:
lorenzo - schwinn line|NAIB true sips|fantastica nominant
http://www.oneillscrossing.com/dart-frogs/

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Re: Fecal, Rana and Chytrid test results

Postby DrNick » Thu Jun 06, 2013 1:24 pm

I tried to organise something nationally over here last year - if you want any lessons in dead horse flogging, I'm your man! LOL

Anyway, good on you for getting the tests done. The screening techniques may not be perfect right now, but without drive and investment from the hobbyists how will we ever see improvement? The cost is negligible in the scheme of things, but so few over here give a damn.

Best,

Nick

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Re: Fecal, Rana and Chytrid test results

Postby joneill809 » Fri Jun 07, 2013 6:57 am

I wanted to clarify that I am still happy about my transactions with Hepetologic and I would purchase frogs from him again. I posted two positive feedbacks on his vendor thread and I stand by that. I was concerned when I heard of another frogger that had a positive RV test so I tested. My three groups were clear of Chytrid and RV based on available tests and tested positive for hooks which (and I admit I am still new) appear to be quite common in the hobby but are treatable if you decide to test / treat.

I decided to share the results and my testing experience so other newbs would understand the process and feel more comfortable sharing results. So our 12 new frogs are doing great, eating well, and receiving their treatment to knock down their hook loads. Visually they are quite healthy and robust and I am very happy with them.

DrNick wrote:I tried to organise something nationally over here last year - if you want any lessons in dead horse flogging, I'm your man! LOL

Anyway, good on you for getting the tests done. The screening techniques may not be perfect right now, but without drive and investment from the hobbyists how will we ever see improvement? The cost is negligible in the scheme of things, but so few over here give a damn.

Best,

Nick

:lol: honestly my plans were not that grand - just figured I'd share the results from my experiences and maybe others would too. I did get some sticker shock initially when I started looking into the total cost of testing but then I put it into perspective - I spent more on lights than I did on testing :)
Jim from Austin please contact me if you are willing to trade offspring from:
lorenzo - schwinn line|NAIB true sips|fantastica nominant
http://www.oneillscrossing.com/dart-frogs/

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Re: Fecal, Rana and Chytrid test results

Postby BcsTx » Fri Jun 07, 2013 8:49 am

Jim I really appreciate you posting your results, we do need more transparency in this hobby.
I am glad you received negatives on your results. While some look at the $ of testing I look at the big picture, most of us buy multiple frogs to get a pair and breed them to sell or trade etc. their offspring. How would you feel if you sold a frog to someone and it had Chytrid or ranavirus?
As far as hooks go they can transfer to humans or pets, I do not have kids but the thought of it makes me cringe.
When buying from a breeder ask if they will stand by their frogs not just live arrival and if they don't like Sean Stewart buyer beware.
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Re: Fecal, Rana and Chytrid test results

Postby frogs are cool » Fri Jun 07, 2013 10:13 am

Maybe off topic but a good place to ask. I have been researching hooks and found that two species of hookworms commonly infect humans, Ancylostoma duodenale and Necator americanus. I have found different forms of hooks that infest dogs and cat and the one that infects dogs (Ancylostoma caninum) can pass to humans. What form do the frogs get and can it be passed to humans as well?
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Re: Fecal, Rana and Chytrid test results

Postby DrNick » Fri Jun 07, 2013 10:59 am

BcsTx wrote:While some look at the $ of testing I look at the big picture...


...which is sadly lacking over here. Keepers over your side of the Atlantic seem to be so much more switched on about this.

All I can say from my experience is that the response I had most often was something along the lines of "but tests can be wrong". While I agree, I would say that the error can be managed very effectively by following some very simple instructions and by repetition. No diagnostic technique is error-free and in a hobby as niche as ours, who is going to fund development of more precise methods and techniques if not the hobbyists?

To be honest, I think much of the resistance I encountered was down to fear of the potential result (ignorance is bliss and all that...), but by having tests done not only are you safeguarding your livestock (within a certain margin of error), you are also investing in improvement of the diagnostic techniques themselves. With a few notable exceptions, no one over here seemed to be interested in the 'greater good' aspect of it despite us offering the service at cost price (don't ban me - I'm not a communist!!).

Anyway, FYI here is an example of the feedback we provided to those who took part.

Image

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Re: Fecal, Rana and Chytrid test results

Postby Stu&Shaz » Sat Jun 08, 2013 9:38 am

Nick, as one of those,terrified by these tests,but totally unable to live with myself if the young frogs we breed and pass on to others carried either chytrid or RV,we felt you provided us an absolute bargain of a service.I'd like it known that Nick helped me get through this,all my stupid questions and fears were calmly answered(My friend Beth from DD also gave us her time thanks guys).To me personally I found it very sad that so few of my fellow froggers here took you up on this,I hoped it might be the beginning of something great and a wonderful service to our hobby,so your sadness was shared kiddo.Moving forward here is very very hard. I would have liked this to become something that we could have repeated.As you so rightly say not only of benefit to us,but also getting some more knowledge to the technicians. I think repetitive testing might have given us even more security in what leaves our hands and goes to others.

Nick you have my utter admiration for trying to do this for the dart guys in blighty( AT COST!!!!),I know few saw it in the same way as I,but all your work was not totally in vein,so a bloody big thankyou mate,that goes for Michael too. I wish things were different.

Jim thanks for posting this and sharing, I needed to say the above words to Nick as I know how much effort he and the guys at the lad,put into doing something really cool for us

regards

Stu

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Re: Fecal, Rana and Chytrid test results

Postby joneill809 » Sat Jun 08, 2013 10:07 am

Hey Stu! This is the kind of discussion I wanted to spur. I'm curious as to what testing folks recommend and what results people have obtained. I'm still quite new and I'm trying to get my bearings on what problems are common an which are not. Plus the process was fascinating!

The report Nick shared was very neat - so informative! I appreciate all the information sharing! Truly a learning experience for me!
Jim from Austin please contact me if you are willing to trade offspring from:
lorenzo - schwinn line|NAIB true sips|fantastica nominant
http://www.oneillscrossing.com/dart-frogs/

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Re: Fecal, Rana and Chytrid test results

Postby BcsTx » Sat Jun 08, 2013 10:39 am

Dr Nick I agree with Stu. I participated in his testing sending my swabs "across the pond."
All were reported negative, always good to get a second opinion from another testing facility.
-Beth

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Re: Fecal, Rana and Chytrid test results

Postby Philsuma » Sat Jun 08, 2013 11:32 am

No worries Stu ! This is an excellent thread for the hobby (thanks again Jim) and just another reason this is such a great forum. Everyone has such good info to share on this - Nick, Beth..everyone.

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Re: Fecal, Rana and Chytrid test results

Postby DrNick » Sat Jun 08, 2013 12:20 pm

Thanks Stu, Beth, Phil et al.!

It was no big deal - just a shame that more didn't come of it. I was certainly left with no incentive to ever make such an offer again, but with time hopefully attitudes will change. You never know unless you try!

Nick

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Re: Fecal, Rana and Chytrid test results

Postby Philsuma » Sat Jun 08, 2013 12:29 pm

Correct and that sums up what I feel, is exactly how the hobby grows and advances. There will be enough effort and positive reinforcement to make various issues of husbandry seem more appealing to a greater majority of hobbyists.

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Re: Fecal, Rana and Chytrid test results

Postby DrNick » Sat Jun 08, 2013 12:41 pm

joneill809 wrote:The report Nick shared was very neat - so informative! I appreciate all the information sharing! Truly a learning experience for me!


To maybe oversimplify things slightly, there is a conflict between the expectations of your average hobbyist - who want a cut and dry answer - and the realities of this type of diagnostic testing which make it inherently ambiguous. In our case, this is particularly true of Rv where there is little or no consensus on protocols for sample collection (of live frogs in the hobby) or even what we are testing for. Commercial testers need to cater for the majority of those wanting the service, and they are looking for certainty for their $$$. Even if the tester provides the best service possible, providing a lot of detail in a reports opens them up to public questioning that commercial operations just don't want.

Because we were not trying to build custom but rather build interest, and because we had no interest in making a profit (the research is run not for profit), we could give a more informative report - this was half the point. The idea was that based upon large samples we could get a feel for the precision of the methods and run repeats using different protocols. This would have been development of a service for the hobby at minimal cost to the hobbyist (I forget, but I think it was ~$30 US for combined Rv + Bd test including swabs, gloves etc.) and would have worked both ways - we would have got our data and they would have got test results that are considered to be accurate on the balance of probability. Made sense to me anyway!! :roll:

Here's looking for the next project!

Nick

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Re: Fecal, Rana and Chytrid test results

Postby Stu&Shaz » Sat Jun 08, 2013 4:58 pm

Jim, I feel nowt other than a total novice,aswell, with just a couple of years of dart keeping under one's belt how could one think one has really learnt much at all. We have very little in the way of really knowledgeable phib vets here. So for me it was also a massive learning curve,but with the added benefit of some damn good support,from the aforementioned. Frankly, here, almost no testing is done,when I started out,I couldn't even find a vet for feacals. Things are not much changed now, to be honest,but a little better.In all honesty, I really think that on a personal level,I would like to have had fecals from the start of this,I am still unsure of my thoughts on the complex issue of treatment,for some of the paracites integral to our frogs,but I have a yearning to know more about what is going on in the frogs that Shaz and I care for.

I really hoped that the data Nick and his collaborators would secure for us would be a stepping stone to better health for our animals.Here, especially we seem to know so little about what can go wrong.Early last year there was a spate of deaths,that we'll never know the cause of.Look, I know there are debates about whether it is right to treat or not for X,but it is totally not knowing what is out there,in the British hobby, that is the most worrying for me. What we might be passing on,to others.Let it be said, I was made very aware that these tests were not 100% conclusive,but they gave me some solace for our collection and for those that our kids go to .Sometimes one needs to back these projects for the common good not just for one's self,well that's how I saw it .


Nick, it was £20 sterling for a combined RV/Bd test,how ever that computes to dollars,roughly half the price of another lab here,an utter bargain,ha ha plus a free agony aunt :roll: (Sorry mate,couldn't help but be terrified), damn what a missed chance that was...bugger it!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm not the sharpest tool in the box mate, but it made perfect sense here too. Scary as hell,in my position,but worth every penny to me anyway.

Jees another project,you're pondering that already :shock: ,ok i'm in ,

Stu

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Re: Fecal, Rana and Chytrid test results

Postby joneill809 » Sat Nov 16, 2013 5:06 pm

Found this link on swabbing methods useful.

http://www.sandiegozoo.org/images/uploa ... elines.doc
Using a single swab, gently swab the ventral surfaces of the skin approximately 20-30 times. Target areas to include the pelvic patch (5 passes with the swab), ventral thighs (5 passes each side with the swab) and toe webbing (5 passes on each foot). It is not necessary to swab the dorsal skin surfaces.
Jim from Austin please contact me if you are willing to trade offspring from:
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http://www.oneillscrossing.com/dart-frogs/

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Re: Fecal, Rana and Chytrid test results

Postby Armson » Tue Nov 19, 2013 9:36 am

Jim,
Thanks for posting all this useful info.

Phil,

Can you lock and complete folder? Would it be possible to have a sub forum with just user names where people could just upload results? That way each user could have there very own thread where they could post test results.
Each thread would be just test results.


Just an idea
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Re: Fecal, Rana and Chytrid test results

Postby Armson » Tue Nov 19, 2013 9:37 am

I adhere to some pretty strict rules when it comes to my frogs. However mistakes can always be made....

ranavirus - How long can untreated infected frogs live?
Reason for the question - I have some Rare frogs that I obtained from a now "questionable" breeder. I have had them for a little over a year. Would the virus have worked it's magic by then.

Chytrid - I mysteriously lost another frog from "questionable breeder", When the temp in my basement dropped. It didn't kill any other frogs but this one. No other frog has made it to this viv and nothing has been transferred from this viv. Is it safe to assume that this VIV needs to be trashed?

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Re: Fecal, Rana and Chytrid test results

Postby RichFrye » Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:15 am

Armson wrote:
ranavirus - How long can untreated infected frogs live?

Depending on the strain (there are thousands and it is almost everywhere) they could die in a day or never be symptomatic.


Armson wrote:Chytrid - I mysteriously lost another frog from "questionable breeder", When the temp in my basement dropped. It didn't kill any other frogs but this one. No other frog has made it to this viv and nothing has been transferred from this viv. Is it safe to assume that this VIV needs to be trashed?


What were the symptoms? What tests were performed on that frog before it went into the viv in question?
Darts with parasites are analogous to mixed tanks, there are no known benefits to the frogs with either.


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Re: Fecal, Rana and Chytrid test results

Postby Armson » Tue Nov 19, 2013 11:21 am

Oh thats just F$%^& great. I was a least hoping that the virus would kill them off if they were infected. That way I at least could be a little more hopeful about the upcoming exams.



Only the decals which were clean.... this was almost 2+ years ago. I am leaning toward trashing the entire viv just to be on the safe side.


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