Fluid Administration in Amphibians

Key Points

  • Skin disease in amphibians can lead to massive osmotic losses and potentially fatal electrolyte imbalances.
  • Critical illness is also commonly associated with fluid retention and loss of electrolytes.
  • Transdermal fluid delivery should always be the first step in supportive care of the amphibian.
  • Pre-warm fluids to prevent hypothermia.
  • Signs of dehydration in amphibians can include: dry ropy mucus in the mouth, sunken eyes, weight loss, oliguria or anuria, and wrinkled, tacky or discolored skin that may be tight skin over the dorsum.
  • Dehydrated terrestrial amphibians generally benefit from isotonic to hypotonic fluids, however standard mammalian fluids are hypertonic for amphibians.
  • There are a number of isotonic solutions available for use in amphibians. One of the easiest to make is amphibian Ringer’s solution.
  • Jarchow’s modification has also been recommended: two parts 2.5% dextrose in 0.45% saline and one part lactated Ringer’s solution.

Most amphibians do not drink water. Fluid instead diffuses across semipermeable skin, and sometimes gills, directly from water or moist substrates. Excess fluid is excreted primarily by the kidneys, while conserving electrolyte levels. In some amphibians, skin is also involved in osmoregulation and respiration . . .

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