Effective disease monitoring and prevention is critical to the success of captive amphibian care. Nematodes, including the genera Rhabdias and Strongyloides, are known to contribute to mortality in captive amphibians and have been identified in the Houston Zoo's endangered Houston toad (Bufo [Anaxyrus] houstonensis) captive assurance colony. Five years of fecal data for the toad colony were compiled and analyzed in order to investigate the efficacy of two anthelminthic medications, fenbendazole (FBZ) and levamisole (LMS), which were used to control nematode infections. Both FBZ (dusted onto food items) and topical LMS (6.5 to 13.5 mg/kg) significantly reduced the number of nematode eggs, larvae, and adults observed by fecal parasitologic examination. There were no significant differences between treatments, and egg reappearance periods were difficult to compare as a result of low sample size. No adverse effects from either anthelminthic treatment were observed. Both topical LMS and oral FBZ appear to be safe and efficacious treatments for the reduction of the internal nematode burden in captive Houston toads.
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