The popularity of amphibians as pets in the Czech Republic is growing. Private keepers breed mainly exotic species that are available at popular exotic animal fairs and in pet shops. This growing demand for amphibians also brings increasing risk of disease transmission. In our study, we focused on two objectives: detecting the pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) in captive amphibians across the Czech Republic and summarizing the results of itraconazole treatments.
We performed a systematic survey, focusing on public institutions, the pet trade and private breeders. Of 610 amphibians tested, we recorded 5.1% to be infected with Bd. The fungus was present mainly as a mild asymptomatic infection, but we also found cases of acute disease, including mortalities. Amphibian breeders, zookeepers and pet sellers should regularly test their animals for the presence of Bd and other pathogens, because captive amphibians can serve as their reservoirs.
When Bd infection is present in a captive amphibian, treatment should be appropriate to the infection’s intensity. The trade-off between the risk of disease and the risk of antifungal treatment varies greatly among species, and even itraconazole’s use can cause fatal health complications.
Authors: Jiri Vojar et al. Full text here.