In August last year a friend of mine found 12 frogs dead near his home in Sowerby Bridge. He sent two specimens off for analysis. Here is the reply:-
Thanks for your email and apologies for my delay in getting back to you.
Here are the post mortem findings:
Adult female common frog, ZSL reference no. XT923-09
This was a gravid adult female in normal body condition. There were multiple skin ulcers, some of which may have occurred post mortem, and the oviduct was inflamed. There was a tarsal (ankle) fracture, which may have occurred after death as there was no associated bruising.
These findings (the ulceration and inflammation) were consistent with ranavirus infection.
Subadult common frog, ZSL reference no. XT924-09
This subadult was thin. Like the other frog, there were multiple skin ulcers, and the gut was inflamed.
These findings were also consistent with ranavirus infection. We will perform further tests on tissues from both carcasses to confirm whether ranavirus infection was indeed present in due course, but on the basis of the post mortem findings I would be highly suspicious that this was the culprit.
I’m sorry to hear that you’re continuing to find dead frogs. I’m afraid there’s very little you can do to prevent the spread or persistence of the infection – you should just remove any dead or sick ones you find asap. But thank you very much for sending the carcasses in; it is very useful for our ongoing research into this disease.
Did you complete the Froglife (now ‘Amphibian and Reptile Conservation’ or ‘ARC’) mortality questionnaire? If not, we’d be very grateful if you could take a few minutes to do so. Here’s the link: http://www.arc-trust.org/ And please could you also let ARC know that you’ve sent the bodies to us (this could be included on the form)?
If you have any further queries please don’t hesitate to get in touch again,
Katie Colvile MA VetMB MSc MRCVS
Institute of Zoology
Zoological Society of London
Tel: (0044) 0207 449 6685
I understand this is a notifiable disease, so any cases must be reported.