Rectal prolapse and foreign body in a magnificent tree frog

Magnificent frogAmphibians are uncommon veterinary patients, partly thanks to restrictions on keeping them in certain areas, but also due to an overall decline in frog numbers worldwide.

Even so, Stephen Cutter, at the Ark Animal Hospital in Palmerston, treats a handful of frogs every year.

“Frogs are still common in NT as chytrid fungus doesn’t seem to have hit,” he said. “The fungus also prefers cooler temperatures which is why it hit worse in alpine areas of the tropics as well as more temperate regions.”

The most common frog species he sees is the green tree frog (Litoria caerulea).

“This frog has an almost commensal lifestyle with people – many have resident green tree frogs on their veranda or living in the outdoor toilet and are quite fond of them, treating them as pets. I think this is why they tend to bring them in when they are injured”.

Like their dog and cat counterparts, frogs present for a range of reasons – typically trauma, but also infectious disease, parasite infestations and gastrointestinal disease. They are also sensitive to metabolic bone disease, as reptiles are.

Cutter made world headlines when he performed reconstructive surgery on a female tree frog whose dorsal skin had been removed by a lawnmower. The frog, Victa, survived and was eventually released back into the wild.

So it was not at all unusual for Cutter to be presented with a pet frog that had suffered a rectal prolapse. Continue reading Rectal prolapse and foreign body in a magnificent tree frog

Puggle in progress

Australian veterinarians, nurses and wildlife carers are adept at hand-rearing orphaned native mammals. Various species of possum, wallaby, kangaroo, bat and glider have been successfully reared and released into thewild.

Any carer will tell you that once the novelty wears off, hand rearing is hard work. Often requiring feeds spaced one to two hours apart, their tiny charges require plenty of dedication and sleep deprivation.

But as Top End veterinary nurses Caroline Francis and Tess Cooper discovered, that’s not quite the case when it comes to raising an orphaned short-beaked echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus).

The echidna in question, nicknamed Makka Pakka after a character from the ABC’s In the Night Garden, was found in the pouch of his injured mother who was rushed to the Ark Animal Hospital in Palmerston, just out of Darwin. Initially Makka’s mother received veterinary care, but it became clear that she was not responding.

“She had suffered from trauma including major injuries to her digging toes and her condition was deteriorating,” Francis said. “She was losing weight drastically and she reached a stage where she just unfolded her pouch and wouldn’t or couldn’t let him back in.” Continue reading Puggle in progress