Presenting problem: “Red Leg” in Frogs

Red leg syndrome, also known as “pink belly disease” or bacterial dermatosepticemia, is one of the most common clinical conditions of captive frogs. Associated with peracute to acute bacterial septicemia, red leg is generally a disease of captive animals although the condition has also been implicated in rare mass mortalities of wild amphibians. This presenting problem article reviews clinical findings in red leg syndrome, pathogenesis of disease, as well as key points of urgent care and prognosis. The basics of case management are then reviewed: differential diagnoses, diagnostics, treatment, prevention and control . . .

To continue you need to be a member. (Français), (Español)

Pour continuer, vous devez être un membre

Para continuar, debe ser miembro de

Already a LafeberVet Member?

Please Login


  1. Baitchman EJ, Pessier AP. Pathogenesis, diagnosis, and treatment of amphibian chytridiomycosis. Vet Clin North Am Exot Anim Pract 16(3):669-685, 2013. doi: 10.1016/j.cvex.2013.05.009.
  2. Carpenter JW, Marion CJ (eds). Exotic Animal Formulary, 4th ed. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2013: 363.
  3. Densmore CL, Green DE. Diseases of amphibians. ILAR Journal 48(3):235-254, 2007. doi: 10.1093/ilar.48.3.235.
  4. Drake GJ, Koeppel K, Barrows M. Disinfectant (F10SC) nebulization in the treatment of ‘red leg syndrome’ in amphibians. Vet Rec 166(19):593-594, 2010. doi: 10.1136/vr.b4839.
  5. Johnson AJ, Wellehan JFX. Amphibian virology. Vet Clin North Am Exotic Anim Pract 8(1):53-65, 2005. doi: 10.1016/j.cvex.2004.09.001.
  6. Murphy BG, Hillman C, Groff JM. Chytridiomycosis in dwarf African frogs Hymenochirus curtipes. Dis Aquat Organ 114(1):69-75, 2015. doi: 10.3354/dao02851.
  7. Pessier AP. Diagnosis and control of amphibian chytridiomycosis. In: Miller RE, Fowler ME (eds). Zoo and wild animal medicine: current therapy, vol. 7. St Louis, MO: Elsevier Saunders; 2012: 217-223.
  8. Stadler C. Chytridiomycosis disease. American Association of Zoo Veterinarians Infectious Disease Committee Manual. May 30, 2013. Available at Accessed on July 5, 2015.
  9. Stockwell MP, Clulow J, Mahony MJ. Sodium chloride inhibits the growth and infective capacity of the amphibian chytrid fungus and increases host survival rates. PLoS One 7(5):e36942, 2012. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0036942.
  10. Wright KM. Septicemia. In: Mayer J, Donnelly TM (eds). Clinical Veterinary Advisor: Birds and Exotic Pets. St. Louis, MO: Saunders; 2012: 65-67.
  11. Wright KM. Overview of amphibian medicine. In: Mader DR (ed). Reptile Medicine and Surgery, 2nd ed. St. Louis, MO: Saunders Elsevier; 2006: 941-971.
  12. Wright KM, Whitaker BR. Amphibian Medicine and Captive Husbandry. Malabar (Kerala): Krieger; 2001: 161-164, 424-427.
  13. Wright K, DeVoe RS. Amphibian quarantine protocols. In: Carpenter JW, Marion CJ (eds). Exotic Animal Formulary, 4th ed. St. Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2013: 77-79.
  14. Young S, Speare R, Berger L, Skerratt LF. Chloramphenicol with fluid and electrolyte therapy cures terminally ill green tree frogs (Litoria caerulea) with chytridiomycosis. J Zoo Wildl Med 43(2):330-337, 2012. doi: 10.1638/2011-0231.1.


Further reading

Pasteris SE, Guidoli MG, Otero MC, et al. In vitro inhibition of Citrobacter freundii, a red-leg syndrome associated pathogen in raniculture, by indigenous Lactococcus lactis CRL 1584. Vet Microbiol 151 (3-4):336-344, 2011.

To cite this page:

Harkewicz K, Pollock C. Presenting problem: "Red Leg" in Frogs. LafeberVet Web site. Available at