Frog Intestinal Problems

Read the entries below to determine which one you may need.

Symptoms and treatment

A bloated frog may or may not have an intestinal problem; the symptoms could be a number of other things.

If you do suspect your frog has an intestinal infection, use of Neomycin can help. Use 1 tablet of crushed neomycin (crush in mortar and pestle) to 100 ml of distilled water. Place treatment into a clean glass jar. Using a plastic eyedropper filled with the medication, place 2 drops onto frogs' dorsum, twice a day for 14 days. Neomycin can be found in most of your larger up-scale petshops that carry saltwater supplies. Read the labels on the boxes. If the bloating is caused by worms, use Tetramisol, crush one tablet and prepare as above. Treat frog as above, for the same length of time.


Impaction signs are a bloated and sometimes distressed frog, showing no signs of pinkened/reddened skin or cuts/scrapes. The frog may writhe, and turn his head towards his tummy. If you think he is, separate him to Hospital tank now, as you will be looking for a frog poop to verify.

Impaction Treatment

The following treatment may help frogs who have not swallowed a stone larger than their cloaca can allow to pass. It can help loosen vegetation impactions, depending again; upon the size ingested.

Move him to the Hospital tank, and then read and follow directions at the following link: Heat treatment. Disregard the time frame listed there, you're on a different time schedule with impaction treatment. Check for a frog poop in the morning, a sign that he has been cured. Then be sure to go over his substrate, and change anything that you think may have caused the impaction in the first place, including over feeding him, before returning him to his regular home.

If he is remaining bloated, with no signs of reddening skin, and no poop is observed within 28 hours, his impaction is dire and you must now seek out a professional in order to possibly save him.

If You're Sure it's impaction, you can also try the following:

In a microwaveable plastic bowl, place 1/3 cup treated water. Add 1/5 cup parboiled rice (brown is best, but white will do in a pinch) with no flavors added. Cook in microwave on low power until all water is absorbed by the rice. Let it cool. Then with a potato masher, squish enough rice to get a small amount of rice paste out of it. Strain this paste through a cheesecloth or coffee filter, adding a touch of treated water if needed. Place about 2cc in a needle-less syringe, and gently force frog's mouth open at one corner and inject the paste∼quickly. Continue with the aforementioned treatment and wait for a frog poop.

Note: I use a plastic spoon's edge to get frog's mouth open. The rice paste (with 1cc of flax seed oil added) has also worked for me with impacted vegetarian iguanas, but given to them at a quanity of about 8cc.

Impaction Prevention in the future

Intestines of frogs can become blocked by several things. The first culprit would be the substrata, or ground; that you have used to cover the vivarium-floor with. Small gravel should always be avoided. Try using large smooth river stone, carpet moss or sphagnum moss covered with fine fertilizer-free sphagnum peat as a floor covering instead. You can buy this type of peat in bricks that you break apart by hand. Many Herpers use "Bed-A-Beast" and this is available wherever you find reptiles for sale. It is basically the same peat I just described, only at a premium price because it is packaged up specifically for herps.

Scotts makes a fine sphagnum peat moss. I called the company myself to be sure it was free of all fertilizers and anything not organic. The lady took about 10 minutes on her computer to go through all of her reference materials before telling me it was in fact, perfectly safe to use with my frogs. Now it is the only peat I buy. Live mosses,if not given proper humidity and lighting; will begin to die and break down. Becoming loose, your frog could ingest.

As a secondary factor; keep away from mealworms-this almost nutritionless worm has very little food value, and although it won't be the specific cause for impaction, will contribute to binding up your frogs' intestines.

In the future, make sure you vary your frogs diet, and give him more insects that contain less chitin, like nightcrawlers, redworms, termites, white grubs, and slugs that are free of trematodes. If you buy crickets in amounts over 3 or 4 dozen, watch for the ones that are pale beige-white. These crickets have just molted and do not have the hardened shell. Pick them up very carefully with the edge of a plastic spoon, or you'll damage them to the point that they won't be able to move, and frogs won't eat food that does not move. Feeding of these bugs cuts down on the chitin amount your frog receives from a diet rich in crickets.


Prolapse is a condition in which the frogs' intestines are coming out of his cloaca. Sometimes they appear as gell-like blobs, some of these "blobs" contain blood vessels, (or not) which only means more of his intestines are out than when we have a hemmoroid situation. They can also be red jelly-like protrusions. The frog can have this happen to them like we do, straining to poop causes hemmoroids in humans, which is a little piece of the inside of your anal-wall protruding outside the body! Impaction can also be a factor. Parasites can also be an underlying cause of prolapse, so having a fecal examination done by a good herp vet is a good idea if this continues.

Move the affected frog to the Hospital tank. Now make him a sugar-water bath, using 1/2 teaspoon sugar to 1/2 cup room temperature spring water. Mix it well. Place the frog in the bath. Leave him undisturbed for a couple of hours. Then look to see whether this has worked.
If you suspect it is protozoans, try Pedialite instead. This is the human child's version of electrolytes, or salts. Make a bath in the same way. Follow the same procedure as above. If this does not cause his anal walls to contract and suck in the intestines, the frog will need to see a vet asap.

Loss of appetite

If you're having problems with your frog's appetite, see the section My frogs won't eat! on the Frog-Feeding page.

Gas Bubble Disease

This disease occurs in some tadpoles as well as totally aquatic frogs. If the water is super saturated with gas, and is then 'breathed in' through the amphibian's skin, it can cause a buildup of oxygen gas in the frogs' bloodstream. Overly aerating in the pool/tank or using tapwater that has high aeration mix can also allow this to happen. Read more on how to properly treat your water to help avoid this malady on the page Water 101, Water treatment.


Symptoms include: bubbles begin appearing your frog's feet and webbings. Your frog/tadpole may begin to float, or be unable to submerge himself. This leads to a hard time eating. When it's really bad, he may even begin to show skin lesions. A similar malady can occur in tadpoles (floating at surface) This can be due to PH too. See Water 101, PH for more information on PH.

What to do now

Lowering the water circulation system is suggested for treating this. Also read the following: Water 101, PH.








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