Artie The Frog Gets Stitched Up

Wildlife Rescue Posted Dec 15, 2020
Rescue, rehabilitation and release for one of our trickier cases...

Artie the frog is one of the many tiny patients we delicately care for every day at the RSPCA Wildlife Hospital. Artie weighed in at just 18 grams, but it’s not just his size that meant delicate treatment…

When our RSPCA Animal Ambulance arrived on the scene, this little frog was in a poor state with a large wound to his back. He was weak and it wasn’t clear if he would make it. Artie was rushed back to our Wildlife Hospital for urgent care.

frog undergoing surgery

Being an amphibian, Artie’s unique anatomy and physiology makes anaesthesia and surgery more challenging than other species.

RSPCA Queensland Wildlife Vet, Tim Portas breaks it down for us. “All amphibians, including fogs, have a rich network of blood vessels in their skin giving them the ability to absorb a range of substances across their skin. This makes them susceptible to environmental toxins but can also be used to the vet's advantage when anaesthetising these animals.”

Anaesthetic agents - normally given via injection or vaporised for inhalation for other animals - can instead be absorbed through the frog’s skin. Our Wildlife Vets provided a mixture for little Artie to be submerged into, allowing him to be anaesthetised before soaking a sterile swab in a very dilute disinfectant solution. The swab was then rubbed onto his delicate skin, prepping him for surgery.

Tim said, “Frogs, like reptiles, are endothermic meaning that wound healing takes longer than in mammals and birds... Even though healing in amphibians can be slow, their skin typically heals very well and they can recover from significant wounds with appropriate care.”

frog on a log

Little Artie stayed with our veterinary team for three weeks receiving antibiotics and pain medication before his sutures could be removed.

When he was ready to be released, we got in touch with the original caller who was able to collect Artie and return him to her backyard where he’s back to his usual ‘hoppy’ self.

large frog on a branch

No matter how big or small, our Wildlife Vets do their very best to treat every patient admitted into our Wildlife Hospital.

Spotted a sick or injured animal in need of help? Contact our 24/7 Animal Emergency Hotline on 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625).

Tegan Watson
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