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This information is provided by Provet for educational purposes only.

You should seek the advice of your veterinarian if your pet is ill as only he or she can correctly advise on the diagnosis and recommend the treatment that is most appropriate for your pet.

Rehydration of amphibians is often necessary after they have escaped from their normal humid environment

The permeable skin of an amphibian allows fluid transfer and they "drink" through their skins rather than by mouth. If an amphibian has been in a dry environment for any length of time it becomes dehydrated and  it's skin turns a darker colour and the surface mucus becomes sticky rather than slimy to the touch. As dehydration progresses the eyes sink, the amphibian loses its normal responses to stimuli, and it may develop neurological signs.

Immersing the amphibian in oxygenated water in a shallow dish will ensure adequate rehydration unless the skin is which case overhydration can occur. Water that is suitable is :

  • Free of chlorine
  • Free of ammonia
  • Free of toxins
  • Between 64-76o F (most species)
  • Charcoal filtered water
  • Aerated bottled spring water or tap water - needs to have gas removed by exposure to the atmosphere for 24-48 hours

Water that is unsuitable is :

  • Distilled water 

Rehydration should be monitored by measuring body weight gain. If the original body weight is known the amphibian should be immersed in the water until it has regained its lost weight.

Intracoelomic administration of up to 2.5% of body weight of hypotonic fluids has also been reported to be useful in shocked amphibians using :

  • 2 parts lactate-free electrolyte solution  to 1 part 5% dextrose initially
  • 9 parts lactate-free electrolyte solution OR amphibian Ringers solution* (sterile) to 1 part sterile water

Antibiotic therapy (as baths) and an artificial slime (Shield-XR) bath may be needed if the skin is badly damaged to protect against infection.

* Amphibian Ringers Solution (Wright 2006)

  • 1 litres deionised water (distilled)
  • Salt (NaCl) - 6.5g
  • Potassium chloride (KCl) - 0.15 g
  • Calcium chloride (CaCl2) - 0.15 g
  • Sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) - 0.2 g

NB Adding  less than 1 litre of deionised water produces a hypertonic solution...which can be used to draw water out of the ampihibian if it is overhydrated.


Wright K (2006) Important Clinical Aspects of Amphibian Physiology . Proceedings North American Veterinary Conference, Orlando Florida20 : 1686-1688

Updated January 2016