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coccidia, now what?!

i just got a batch of fecals done and suddenly i have coccidia in 2/3 of my collection. i say suddenly because all of these frogs have had between two and six fecal exams in the last 6 months. i've been fighting hook worms and had some protozoans come in in the last batch of frogs i bought. this is the first time i've had coccidia detected. i've done a search here and have more questions than answers.

how do i disinfect quarantine enclosures now that coccidia is present?

the vet seems much less concerned than i am. he says albon works. how does this translate into dart keeping.

assuming he gives me albon when i go back in tomorrow, what is the most effective course of treatment? how often do i treat in the future? how often do you need to re-test, assuming that a course of treatment with albon is 'effective'?

what is the best case scenario? can the coccidia be suppressed and never trouble the frogs again?

hey paul,

i had read this thread, and the only one of my questions it touched on is the 'happily ever after' scenario. i'm still not sure, however, if the living a long life/ suppression can come after one round of treatment, or if constant testing and treatments are called for.

for some reason this is hitting me really hard. i've been treating frogs for six months, and i'm so tired of bleaching boxes i could scream. it seems like when i get one thing fixed, something else pops up. i got three negative fecals for hookworms on some of the frogs and then had them re-appear. i'm soooo frustrated!

any help will be greatly appreciated.

did you try Dr frye? I've never dealt with it so just though that might be a good place to start since Rich more or less beats the info out.

hey there

coccidia can be very frustrating. i had some fecals done on some frogs several months ago and the vet got the results mixed up. coccidia and a few worms showed up. i had to have it re-done 4 times before we figured out which frogs had coccidia, it doesn't always show up!

1.1.1 Hawaiian Auratus (reticulated), 1.2.2 Leucomelas, 3.2.1 Cobalt Tincs, 1.0.0 Kauluha & Creme / Camo Auratus, 2.0.1 Yelloback Tincs, 0.0.4 Azureus, 1.1.0 Spotted Auratus

The only way to treat coccidia is lifelong suppression with drugs like Albon. Coccidia has never been eliminated from an infected frog, but you can stop the coccidia from breeding and therefore stop the frog from passing the disease into its environment. If you are "disinfecting" a tank that has been exposed to coccidia to put non-infected frogs into....STOP. Don't do it. Consider the tank contaminated, and only housed frogs with the same strain of coccidia in it until the end of time. It is the safest (if most disappointing) of the options.

David M. Frye, DVM

thank you for the response, dr. frye. my vet is a snake specialist, and not used to dealing with darts.

what does lifelong suppression with albon mean? daily/weekly/monthly doses of meds? is there a first round of aggressive treatment followed by a "booster shot" regimen?

all of the frogs affected by the coccidia have gotten at least two consecutive clean fecals for other issues (one pair had hookworms and others were infected by large flagellate protozoans). if a third consecutive fecal reveals that the other issues are gone, what then? do i keep them in quarantine enclosures until i get three consecutive cleans for the coccidia?

you say that a "tank" cannot be disinfected. are you talking about a viv with soil/plants/decor, or do you mean that an empty aquarium or critter keeper used as a quarantine box cannot be disinfected?

thanks so much for the info. i'm sure many others who do a search for "coccidia" in the future will find this thread very helpful.

I am very interested in the answer to the sterilazation of a tank. my frogs do not have any ailments but I would be very frustrated if one of my nice tanks could never be used again because of this. Mack I am sorry if the latter statement is true, please keep us informed.


Coccidia as I understand it in most cases comes from wood. But I'm sure that's not the only way possible. Anyhow I am pretty sure what Dr. Frye means is your viv that is planted/soiled etc. cannot be decontaminated at all. I have bearded dragons and coccidia is common with them because of driftwood or custom-made wood enclosures. It's a real pain but it happens. Sad Good luck with the "coccidia virus" as I call it.


i just spoke to dr. frye, and will post the info i gleaned with the good doctor's permission.

the medication regimen is daily, with a year's supply running about $35. this answers a lot of the questions. since you are treating daily there is no need for further testing on the frogs FOR COCCIDIA because you are already doing all that is possible. twice yearly fecal exams are still necessary to deal with other potential problems.

an empty container can be bleached with a 20% solution then air dried.

hand sanitizers which you rub on then let dry are effective for cleaning hands between vivs/enclosures.

any tools that are used in infected vivs should not be used for clean vivs.

if eggs are pulled and treated with a methylene blue solution, clean offspring are possible. any eggs which hatch in the viv are likely to be infected.

a few follow up questions:

1) can i assume that statements about bleach not being effective at killing coccidia oocysts come from herp people who deal with cryptosporidium, which is different than the coccidia we are concerned with?

2) what is the solution for methylene blue to treat eggs?

3) my vet suggested that i bring in some ff's to be examined. he found the same 'coccidia' in floats done on crushed up ff's. what can this mean? he wondered if the 'coccidia' might be some type of mold spore, etc. the tech invited me to look at the 'coccidia' from the ff's in his microscope. it was pretty nondescript, just a black bubble with an outer shell. could they be seeing something else? how would i go about finding someone to positively identify the 'coccidia'?

4) if the coccidia is coming from my ff's, is it likely to affect dendrobatids? it seems that most coccidia is host specific. could the coccidia in my ff cultures come from my dog or some other source and be incidental to my frogs? the frogs are asymptomatic.

Hey Mack, not sure if you have come across this, but I found it an interesting read.

this one also ... 333iii.htm


I would be highly suspicious of a misdiagnosis. Have another vet run fecals who knows what coccidia looks like in frogs. If they can't tell the difference between mold spores and coccidia, you need to find someone that can.

well, i just got off the phone with dr. frye and WHOO HOO! my frogs are clean. i sent four samples which had been diagnosed with coccidia, and all four revealed nothing. i'm so relieved. with the help of some internet photos of coccidia, i was able to see the difference in coccidia and what was worrying my vet.

just to finish this up, here's what else i found out. dr. frye uses 5-10 drops of methylene blue to 1 oz of spring water to treat eggs from infected frogs. he uses this solution to vigorously rinse material away from the eggs (dirt, leaf bits, etc.), then dribbles the solution on the eggs themselves. frogs from infected parents have been tested for three years and never shown coccidia infection.

Hello everyone,
I don't have darts, but I am planning to get some in October. The problem is that two of my four tree frogs have been diagnosed with coccidia, also. I don't want to spread this to my new (healthy) darts and would like to elimiate the parasites. The vet had perscribed Albon. However, does it really need to be taken orally? This must be close to impossible in darts. So, really, my question is, are there other methods besides oral Albon administration used in curing (or at least suppressing) coccidia in frogs? Any insight is much appreciated, as there is little information out there.[/code]

are you planning on housing the dart with the tree frogs?

Hi Cindy. No, the darts will be in a separate vivarium. I am just afraid of contamination between setups, as all three are going to be in the same room. I am careful, hygienically speaking, but I still don't want to risk infecting the new darts. My real question is how is coccidia usually treated in any species of frog? Oral liquid admin. seems impossible.

the feeder insects are dusted with albon.

How can Coccidia be prevented? What effects does it have on the DF's?


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