Many studies have shown that the reason for the disappearance of several frog species may be due to the disease caused by chytrid fungus. The chytrid fungus attacks a part of the frog’s skin that has keratin. It damages the pores which frogs use to breathe. The fungus also damages the nervous system of the frogs, which can damage their functioning and motor skills.
There are several ways of identifying a sick frog, including discoloured skin, peeling or sloughing of the top layer of the frog skin, loosened legs instead of keeping them tucked. There will also be a behavioural change which makes the frogs lose their appetite, make them sluggish, and they also do not care to protect themselves and sit out in the open.
Chytrid fungus is generally caused by direct contact between frogs and tadpoles and by infected water. The frogs may not die suddenly due to the fungus, and they might hop out to other areas while spreading the infection and fungus spores to the new ponds. The first measure that one should take while protecting the frog species is to avoid moving infected frogs to new habitats as they can spread chytrid fungus. Wet boots, tyres, camping, gardening, and the frog-survey equipment may also be responsible for the spread of this disease.
Here are the ways you can help in preventing the spreading of chytrid fungus in frogs.
Touch the frogs only when it is necessary otherwise try to make a minimum connection with them. Make use of disposable gloves and sample bags while inspecting the frogs and use sterile equipment for the checkup.
Clean all your equipment and make sure it is dry before visiting the frog sites. Keep your footwear clean and dry, and even the tyres of your vehicle should be clean. It is all to protect the frog species from any kind of infection when you enter a threatened specie site.
Keep the frogs where they are and avoid moving them to a new location as it will only increase the risk of disease spread in the nearby frog colonies.
Carry out cleaning equipment and disinfectants to the site for keeping the operation clean and dry.
When you find a sick frog, here is how you proceed with the treatment and disease control. Knowing the symptoms of chytrid fungal infections, you can determine whether the frog that seems sick is infected with the disease. In case you find a sick or dead frog:
Use disposable gloves to place the frog into a container.
If the frog is still alive, make sure there are air holes for proper air to the frog. Keep a little bit of water too for the frog to rest in. Connect with the frog care helpline in your area and ask for instructions for if the frog is dead and if the frog is alive. Also, if the frog is dead, try to keep the body into a freezer as soon as possible.
You can consult with the frog care helpline to follow the instructions to send the frog to the laboratories for research.