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Introducing myself - Dr. David Frye and my website

Posted: Fri Sep 17, 2004 8:15 am
by Dr. Frye
Hello everyone. My name is David Frye. I am a veterinarian in Michigan with a passion for dart frogs and their medical needs. I am opinionated, and can sometimes be short with people, but I love the frogs. We have a thriving collection of well over 300 dart frogs and successfully breed many species of thumbnails and rarer large frogs.

I figured I introduce myself by giving everyone a glimpse of some of my posts from other forums. This is not a polished posting, but I hope you will find it interesting and/or informative. The following statements were posted by myself in June on FrogNet. At the end of this posting, I also added a few quotes from Brian Monk, DVM who is the only other veterinarian I know of that posts on frog boards. Feel free to tell me what you think.

I am the veterinarian who claims well over 90% of the captive bred Dendrobatid fecal samples I run (and I have literally run thousands now.) have internal parasites. Mostly worms such as hooks and lung worms mentioned earlier. I do not consider bacteria a parasite in my findings. Coccidia is the next greatest offender - however many frogs with coccida seem to thrive, and then again it can kill a stressed frog and cause bloody feces. I occasionally find other protozoa, but it is the worm burden that is astounding. Please, please collect as much as possible fresh feces from one of your tanks, place it in a small airtight container (such as a film canister) with a little moist paper towel to maintain humidity and rush it to your local vet. Have him/her run a fecal float and let the cover slip sit for at least 15 minutes. If the solution he/she is using is decent, and the vet will allow you peek through his scope - I can almost guarantee you are in for a wild ride. Really fresh poop will have a decent number of worm eggs. If you wait a day or three you'll see the worm young hatch and move beneath the lens. These crawling worms can invade your frogs through nearly any body opening, and even more remarkable than that, they can burrow directly through the skin of your frogs desperately seeking an intestinal loop. Sometimes they end up in aberrant locations - brain-kidney-bladder-eye-heart-etc. This isn't really that great for the frog. The frogs can live like this for some time. the problem is that they a shitting hundreds of infective worm eggs each day or so into a tiny space where they are constantly being bombarded with an ever increasing number of hungry little worms waiting to catch a ride into the next frog that happens by. How often do you all change the entire substrate of all of your vivaria. We know hookworms can live in damp soil for over 2years.
Coccidia can be even worse. Their is no proven cure right now, and we know it can live in a moist environment for over two years, just waiting for a host.
How many of you quarantined your frogs for at least 2 month and received 2 negative fecal samples before introducing your frogs into their beautiful naturalistic vivaria? Most of you introduce parasites into these enclosures that you will never be able to rid your tanks of. Not unless you scrap the entire furnishings and start with a freshly bleached bare tank. I don't mean to be offensive, but I think you will be shocked. TAKE YOUR SAMPLES TO A DECENT LOCAL VET!!! Have him give you the results and then honestly post them here. I have done many, many collector/breeders' fecal samples, and I have never lied. There are definitely people out there that can vouch that I gave them a negative result, when they truly believed that they had parasites. This usually turns out to be a bacterial overgrowth and is easily remedied.
In closing, I really try to learn as much as possible about all of the aspects of medical care for these wonderful animals. I appreciate any knowledgeable information. I do not make enough money from doing amphibian medicine to make it worth my while, or worth the headache, but I love doing it. Please, Please, Please - go to a decent vet and have him run fecals from every tank you have. Pay the vet the $10-20 per sample (it is well worth it to everyone - especially if you post your results.) And finally let everyone know. I'm sure many, many people don't want the parasite problem broadcasted on frognet, but you seem to want to ask the question.......... many of you know that you have numerous parasites. Can anyone tell me how a parasite benefits your collection?

I didn't mean to rant, but it is ridiculous to hear such scientifically minded people not run a simple scientific test on their pets. How many of you have dogs? Do you give Fluffy his monthly heartworm preventative or get the 6 month injection? Do you pick up a puppy and ignore the multitude of roundworms filling his intestinal tract? Most dogs dying of heartworm disease don't show any signs until they've been infected for about 2 years.

Just a tired man's thought.

Let me make this entirely clear. I do not wish everyone to treat every PDF in their collections weekly with anything. In fact, if we followed certain guidelines to eliminate dangerous parasites from our frogs (hookworms, lungworms, coccidia, etc) BEFORE we introduced them into a tank, there should be very little worry and nearly no reason to medicate for parasites - assuming you have fecals checked on occasion (I run my frogs fecals weekly to monthly. I'm a vet. I'd suggest others to run fecals yearly or every 6 months IN A TANK WHERE FROGS ADDED WERE KNOWN TO BE CLEAR OF PARASITES.)

The whole weekly treatment thing is used for frogs in tanks contaminated with worms. The owner doesn't want to scrap the tank, but wants to keep the parasite burden low. I started recommending monthly treatments, but this had problems. The worms can actually be cleared from a frog (negative fecal samples daily for one week after Panacur) but when I tested them again 1 month after treatment they were already shedding eggs again. This means that the frogs were being exposed to infective worm larva in their vivaria, the worms invaded the previously treated frog, made it to the GI tract, matured, and started laying eggs within that month. After further studies it seemed that most frog worms had a life cycle (from invasion of the frog to laying viable eggs) between 12 and 18 days. In a puppy or kitten this usually takes longer than 3-4 weeks so we try to deworm them at least twice at 3-4 week intervals (get rid of all the adults and juveniles with the first dose, and the ju
(too young to lay eggs) in the second deworming.)

So, now I had to use a little reasoning to come up with the idea that if the life cycle (reproductive life cycle) for frog worms appears to be much quicker than for mammals we should deworm in shorter intervals (shorter than the time it takes a frog to invade and start laying eggs) - hence I came up with 1 week. It's easy to remeber, and works incredibly well. Also - I still believe Panacur to be very safe. All of my breeding thumbnails have had Pancur treatments.

The main difference between deworming a frog verses deworming a dog is that most of us don't make our dogs live in a very small environment full of their own feces and parasites. Those who do will have parasite ridden dogs (unless they use a good monthly heartworm product (ProHeart counts because it is in the system constantly.) ) Notice the monthly thing again. Heartworm products are actually given monthly to assure protection against GI worms. If Heartworm meds were given every 40 days they would still be 100% effective against heartworm (because it takes longer than that for the microfilaria (baby heartworms) to reach the heart and take up residence. I AM NOT TELLING ANYONE TO GIVE THEIR DOGS HEARTWORM MEDICINE EVERY 40 DAYS!!!!!!!! It would work for heartworms, though.

One last thing (I have to say something controversial) - I have read that people believe giving dewormers is very stressful to the frogs (and even to the worms.) Someone mentioned that the worms were so upset that they started to burrow through the frog to get away from the medication. Please think about this statement. GI worms need to be in the GI tract to live normal wormy lives. They burrow INTO the GI tract normally (maybe these were the worms seen on necropsy.) The dewormers we use work by basically shutting down the worms nervous system and paralyzing them. If they were exposed to the drug 1) they'd probably be too paralyzed to start digging an escape tunnel, and 2) THEY ARE NOT REASONING CREATURES. The worms didn't feel the Panacur coming and say," Hey guys we gotta get out of here. Lets do something entirely new and burrow OUT of our beloved homeland."

As for being stressful to the frog, I've never experienced this. The dewormer is either dusted on the feeder insects or applied by a dropper to the frog's back. None of mine seem to mind at all.

Let me know what you think,

Take a few of your darts and place them individually in a brand new "shoe box" set up with a wet paper towel bottom with fake or real plants for cover. Feed them normally and collect all the feces 3 or 4 days later. Take this sample to a good veterinarian. Wait for the results.
If and when you find dozens of worm eggs/ squirming worms in the samples (and I am in no way trying to say that your collection definitely has parasites or is any way more contaminated than any other,) will you be able to agree that the worms came from the frogs? They wont come from the paper towels. They wont come from plastic fake leaves (even though I prefer to use real plants.)
Try this out on 10 or so of your frogs. Pick the healthiest looking ones.
Please, do not think that I am in any way trying to protect my livelihood here. I don't make enough money doing medicine for frogs to make it worth my time. I have had my busiest two weeks ever at my hospital these last two weeks. It takes me about 1/2 hour and 2 bucks worth of material to talk to the frog owner, set up the, fecal, read the fecal, record the results, photograph the parasites (but my wife dropped my KoolPix 995 and I replaced it with a KoolPix 5400 and the microscope adapter is still on order,) explain the results to the owner, explain my recommendations, mix/weigh/package the meds, give my receptionist the directions to print and have the whole thing boxed up and sent to the owner's door. This is not how I want to make money. This is not a money making venture. I do medicine for frogs for the same reason most of you keep frogs - not for the money, but because we are passionate about it. I have the ability to treat these amazing creatures – therefore I feel it is an obligation.

I used to advertise that I would charge $1 per minute for medical consultation (and trust me I can make a lot more than that doing my routine small animal/exotic practice.) I am sure I have talked to a lot of people on this board who called me up asking advice. Can anyone out there say that I charged them for my time? Ever?

I am truly glad that you don't think you have problems with parasites. Your collection is obviously doing very well. You and Todd are very respected and have done great things for the hobby. Do you have any dogs or cats? Would you allow them to have hookworm, whipworm, roundworm, or heartworm infections without treating them just because you couldn't see the problem? Most animals with worms show no outward signs. You probably all know someone who was shocked to find out their dog was infested with heartworms. Anyone?

I am a vet. Fighting infection and parasitism and disease is what I do. It is part of who I am. I'm not trying to convert people or scare you into doing anything. I urge everyone to go to their vet (please not me) with samples collected as I mentioned above. Be honest with the rest of us. Let's find out what is in our frogs. Ask your vet to let you look through the microscope using the 10x and 40 x objectives (100 & 400 times magnification total with eyepiece.)

Thanks for your time.

I like Ed's suggestions much better than my own earlier suggestions, but I doubt many people will be able to accomplish this (or are willing to - to be exact.) I do, however, recommend that everyone try Ed's method (with just a few changes that I will mention later.) This was the original reason I mentioned fake plants for cover. I use small clean clippings of pothos (never ever taken from a vivarium - I have pots of hanging pothos just for this purpose) which I rinse very well multiple times. They certainly could still carry non-pathogenic nematodes, but I can not think of how they could introduce amphibian lungworms or hookworms into the quarantine environment (and even if they did - the worms need to enter the frog, take up residence, and start laying eggs - which takes a good deal more than 3 days - for these eggs to be shed into feces.)
I do not believe that taking the first feces a frog sheds into it's quarantine tank is representative of it's parasite load for 2 reasons. Firstly, parasites are shed sporadically - when a frog, dog, cat, etc has internal parasites, you will not always find the eggs of those parasites in each and every BB sized sample of feces. Secondly, parasite shedding dramatically increases when the frog is stressed. So if you were only to collect one tiny sample, you should move the frog to a new "sterile-ish" environment every day for 3-5 days and take a sample from one of these later days. This will much increase the odds of getting one tiny pile of s*&^ containing an accurate account of the parasites within the frog. I really like to look at more than one turd at a time.
Many times hobbyists send me samples of only the frogs they are concerned about. These usually, but not always contain parasites. Many breeders and advanced hobbyists have sent me samples from every single group in their collections (EVEN THE ONES THEY WERE NOT AT ALL CONCERNED ABOUT,) the prevalence of parasites are nearly identical. Once again, I'm sure there are some of my clients out there that were surprised (and delighted) when I gave them negative fecal results, and conversely I have clients out there that were disappointed when I found huge loads or potentially devastating parasites in their "healthiest" of frogs.
I don't name names, and I don't tell people who has what, but there are many frog breeders that have actually come to my hospital and watched me perform samples on the feces their frogs shed in brand new deli cups with new paper towels and no other containments (such as plants or soil) on the drive over to my hospital (these were brand-new short transport containers.) Many of these samples had 2 or 3 types of worm eggs in them and some had protozoan parasites (yes, I know that not all protozoans are parasitic - these were.) The owners got to sit there, watch me set the sample up, and look at their frogs' poop under my beautiful Olympus microscope. I pointed out the eggs and the differences of each type. I showed them what mites and mite eggs look like (and not to confuse them with parasites.) I got to show a couple of people amoebas, and those unlucky enough to have coccidia received a glimpse at this evil little bastard.
I know these breeders have a good reason not to post on this board what they saw. Think about it. I really don't get a whole lot of resistance in this hobby, and I know most people have just heard about me recently, but the resistance I get is usually about what medicines I recommend and how to use them. I understand. These are newish protocols and don't have years of field study on PDFs to prove their safety. (Who has run years of medical research on medicines given to PDFs?) People have mentioned the nicest newest amphibian medical book many times on this and other forums. I take most of my dosages and recommendations from there. I have a few more amphibian formularies. I try my best, have had amazing results, and use all the meds on my own frogs. I am successfully breeding many species of frogs right now that have gotten Panacur nearly weekly for many months at a time. Many of these species are considered difficult to work with and/or breed) I work with a breeder that is much more bold than myself, and he doubles, triples, and sometimes 20 times the dose of my recommendations. I do not endorse this, but I am lucky enough to be able monitor his collection and see if any of the drugs have caused any noticeable problems. I necropsy his frogs for free, and have done so for about 1.5 years. The frogs necropsied before he started using meds had much, much more liver and kidney damage than any I have seen in the last 8 months.
My next bit of information is not for the squeamish. Next week, call around and find a vet willing to do this. Next time one of your frog dies, call the vet immediately and rush the body to him/her. Have the vet open the abdomen, take a look at the kidneys and liver, and remove the entire GI tract. Now, have the vet use the entire gut contents to set up a fecal float and wait for the results. This sidesteps all of the hesitancy about whether or not the worms and eggs came from the frog or not. If the vet is willing and capable, have him/her set up histopath slides of the heart, heart blood, liver, kidney, reproductive organs, bladder, and lungs. The brain is quite tricky, and takes some practice. Have the vet look for bacterial, parasites, and pathology. THE FROG HAS TO BE VERY FRESH TO GET GOOD HISTOPATH RESULTS!!!! I can't stress enough, that I will not waste my time or my clients' money on rotten frogs, and your vet will not take kindly to feeling obligated to work on a putrid corpse.
Just some more of my opinions. Let me know what you all think. I respect the level of intelligence that subjects are handled with on this forum.

My main point that I keep stressing is that we should just make certain that our frogs don't carry parasites when we introduce them into our vivaria. This is my bottom line. Keep all new animals in quarantine until you are certain they are not contaminated with parasites. Treat all parasites in these quarantined animals until they test negative for at least 2 consecutive fecal exams, and then you can add them to an uncontaminated environment without the concern of prolonged antiparasitic treatments.
The problem is that very few hobbyists have done this, and almost all of the beautiful, large, and expensive (monetarily and emotionally) vivaria that hobbyists have set up, have had contaminated frogs added to them from the start. I'd much rather have my clients treat their collection for 3-5 weeks, obtain 2 negative fecals, and move to all new and clean vivaria, BUT many of my clients (if not all) are unwilling to completely destroy the vivaria they have worked so hard to create.
The drug resistance issue is definitely a possibility, but what are your main concerns? Christina had a good point (if the cheapest dewormer is very safe, we would like it to work on our animals when they seriously need it.) Well, there are already worms out there resistant to Panacur.
Yes, bacteria (which has a life cycle measured in minutes) will constantly evolve and gain resistance to new antibiotics. Worms take weeks to reproduce. If you deworm every week for some time, you should be able to destroy all the worms not already resistant to the drug. It is not as if giving the worms a dewormer will speed up the reproductive cycle so dramatically that we will create super-worms able to reproduce in a tenth the time of normal worms.
Also, I ask again - how can you be worried about creating panacur-resistant PDF parasites to the point of not treating them at all? What exactly is the main concern? The worms can be destroyed with the next drug (or the second to next) up the line of ever increasing dewormers if a major threat occurs.
Bacteria become resistant so quickly it is amazing, but Penicillin and Amoxicillin are still extremely effective drugs for MANY MANY bacterial infections and are widely used successfully throughout the world.
There are extremists that would like antibiotic use completely stopped in all non-human animals so that the resistance will slow down. Does this sound reasonable to anyone? Trust me when I say it is humans carrying most of the antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria out there. Should we stop doing research, creating new meds, and using medicine, and just let god sort things out?

In general, if a worm is able to reproduce within a host, it is considered a parasite (hence the recommendation to look at the entire GI contents.) Protozoan, etc are much trickier. Remember that the number of protozoan and worms on this planet far outnumber the number of vertebrates. Far, far outnumber them.

Please, anyone considering sending me a necropsy in the future, I would like to suggest using pathologists instead. I would be most interested in getting copies of the reports, and would be willing contribute to the cost of this. I can't say how many people will take me up on this, so I can't guarantee I can do it forever, but for the first 100 reports sent to me from complete histopaths on PDFs from Mike Garner, I will contribute $5 for the cost of the tests. Thanks a lot. I am extremely excited to have another source of data input.

David M. Frye, DVM
Milan Area Animal Hospital
517 West Main Street
Milan, MI 48160
fax (734) 439-0556

Many parasites can infect multiple hosts (cat,dog, people, etc) and many need intermediate hosts such as insects, snails, crayfish etc before they can wind up in their definitive host. Tapeworms are a good example.

You can add a clean lid or petri dish to the big spacious vivarium and monitor it for fecal deposits. If it is a clean dish, replaced often, and you know the pile of shit on it wasn't there 2 or 3 hours ago, you can be certain it is a nice fresh sample, eh? You don't have to wrangle frogs.

From Brian Monk, DVM
"Hi y'all,

Fenbendazole, when used at safe dosages, dose NOT cause bone marrow
suppression. It is a well-known and well-used drug, with no known side-effects as
serious as this at proper dosage levels. It is also very effective against a
broad range of nematodes, other "worm" parasites, and a variety of protozoa. "


"Unfortunately (for the frogs, I mean), yes David's numbers are validated by
my own. About 90% of the fresh, well-handled fecals I see contain what I
consider parasite eggs. 100% contain protozoa of various sorts, but whether these
are parasitic or commensal, and potentially harmful and at what levels, is a
much more subtle topic. ALL (100%) of the frogs that I have sent for
histopathology have had some evidence of parasitism.

Can I do the fecal tests myself? What about Quarantine?

Posted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 10:53 am
by 41714049
I was just wondering if it is possible to do fecal tests myself. I have 2 microscopes with magnifications of 50x, 100x, 200x for one, and 250x, 500x, and 1000x for the second one. They were used in a seed and plant disease lab about 5 years ago. If it is possible could you please explain the procedure? Note: No vets in my area will do it... they laughed at the idea... quite annoying.

Also, is it possible to eliminate all parasites by simply running a quarantine before putting them into the vivarium? For example, can I just quarantine the frogs for 15-30 days (what ever length of time is better... you tell me) while dosing them every 5-7 days and cleaning/replacing the quarantine "box"? Is it safe to assume after that type of quarantine that the frogs would be parasite free?

Finally, how often must I test and dose frogs once they go into the vivarium if all quarantine procedures are followed as listed above? What types of dosing do I need to do (what medicines, one type, two types, three...)?

Thanks for your time and expertise!

Re: Can I do the fecal tests myself? What about Quarantine?

Posted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 1:05 pm
by Dancing frogs
41714049 wrote:I was just wondering if it is possible to do fecal tests myself. I have 2 microscopes with magnifications of 50x, 100x, 200x for one, and 250x, 500x, and 1000x for the second one. They were used in a seed and plant disease lab about 5 years ago. If it is possible could you please explain the procedure? Note: No vets in my area will do it... they laughed at the idea... quite annoying.

Also, is it possible to eliminate all parasites by simply running a quarantine before putting them into the vivarium? For example, can I just quarantine the frogs for 15-30 days (what ever length of time is better... you tell me) while dosing them every 5-7 days and cleaning/replacing the quarantine "box"? Is it safe to assume after that type of quarantine that the frogs would be parasite free?

Finally, how often must I test and dose frogs once they go into the vivarium if all quarantine procedures are followed as listed above? What types of dosing do I need to do (what medicines, one type, two types, three...)?

Thanks for your time and expertise!

I don't think that would work for some of the parasites...some are nearly impossible to get rid of (from what I've heard).
Also, all you get when you assume anything....
is making an ass out of u and me :wink:
Don't take that as an attack...I just like the saying!

Posted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 6:29 pm
by 13013
just wondering, is the Panacur listed above the same as the 22.2% granules sold for horses? thanks robert.

But no vets will help!

Posted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 7:08 pm
by 41714049
So what can I do to make sure that my future frogs will be clean if no vets will help me with testing???


p.s. no offence taken to the assume thing

Posted: Wed Mar 01, 2006 7:32 pm
by RichFrye
Hi 41714049,
Did you happen to read my brother's post?
Get fecals samples, send them to my brother. Done.



Posted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 11:16 pm
by 41714049
Is there not a problem with exporting fecal matter from Canada to the US?

Also, if I would require medication, as far as I know, it is not legal to ship medication for my frogs from the US and vets here will not sell medication without actually doing the test/examination themselves.

Does anyone know anything about this?

Posted: Fri Mar 03, 2006 11:42 pm
by RichFrye
Do you not have a name? Seeing how I am trying to help you out with some advice.

I would think that our F+W guys would have much better things to do than worry about fecal matter being tested by a vet ,for medical reasons. I also question how they would know (shite check??). But, none the less, you are correct that there should be no part of a CITES animal shipped across international lines (without proper paperwork). I will not suggest that anyone violate any CITES regs. Please don't send my brother your fecals.

I also do not know the laws regarding receiving meds from us, but I sure know I get bombarded by a sea of drug companies from your country trying to sell me stuff...all the time...ironic
If you know there are vets who have the meds, and they prescribe them for pets they examine, why not have them examine your frogs? If they have Panacur for example , they know it is for deworming, and pretty much any vet will run a fecal. "Dog vets" know what coccidia looks like and they also know what worms and worm eggs look like. Drugs like Ivermectin, Baytril, and Metro., Silversulfadiazine (probably slaughtered the spelling on those) ,are all drugs most vets work with, or at the very least order.


Posted: Sun Mar 05, 2006 3:23 pm
by 13013
so about my above panacur question, it seems valid, could i get an answer possibly?

Posted: Sun Mar 05, 2006 4:08 pm
by RichFrye
Hi Robert,
My brother does not check the forums like he used to.
There is contact info on our website to email/call him about the differences.


Posted: Sun Mar 05, 2006 5:14 pm
by 13013
oh ok, sounds good Rich, thanks for the reply.
i've been reading his files there a bit and didn't want to bother him with something if he'd think it was trivial, but he doesn't mention the %. i'll look about a bit more and then try to get a hold of him. thanks again.


Posted: Sun Mar 05, 2006 11:35 pm
by 41714049
Thanks for your info. I appreciate your time and hope my questions did not bother you too much. I will still try to find a vet that will be willing to examine my future frogs.


Jan (thats my name :D )

I really really really appreciate your responses.

Posted: Mon Mar 06, 2006 4:16 pm
by RichFrye
Not a problem at all. If you have trouble getting info from vets in Canada you can find contact info on our site and either call or email my brother. He is a busy guy running his clinic, but I think you will find he returns almost all messages and/or contact brought to him in a timely manor.
Good luck.

Re: Introducing myself - Dr. David Frye

Posted: Fri Jul 10, 2015 4:04 pm
by Philsuma

Contact info for DR. David Frye.

Re: Introducing myself - Dr. David Frye

Posted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 2:50 pm
by Philsuma
Anyone contact Dr. Frye lately? Address and website above still good ?

Re: Introducing myself - Dr. David Frye and my website

Posted: Sun Jan 24, 2016 5:29 pm
by joneill809
Website is still current. I deal with him once or twice a year. I also keep a standard kit of meds current that I pickup from him. Current email is [dr.frye.vetatmilan] at gmail dot com.