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Open Access Cutaneous Acariasis in the African Clawed Frog (Xenopus laevis)

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Increased mortality was observed in a single colony of 50 Xenopus laevis. The frogs were used as oocyte donors in developmental biology studies. Necropsy findings included dermal erythema and petechiation consistent with red leg syndrome; dermal ulcerations and white, filamentous growths on the skin were consistent with Saprolegnia sp. Microscopic evaluation of the skin and fungus revealed an astigmatid mite similar to those of the genus Rhizoglyphus. The mite was also found in the water and the biological filter of the tanks housing the frogs. This mite is considered not to be a parasite of X. laevis; instead, it feeds off moss, fungi, and detritus. Subsequent evaluation of the sphagnum moss used for shipping the frogs from the supplier revealed the same mite in the moss. Our hypothesis is that the mite was introduced into the tank with the shipment of new frogs in sphagnum moss. The mites lived within the biological filter, and were only found after the growth of Saprolegnia sp. attracted the mites to the frogs. Laboratory animal care and veterinary personnel should consider non-pathogenic species of mites in the differential diagnosis of acariasis in Xenopus frogs.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Needham Animal Hospital, Wilmington, North Carolina 28403 2: Division of Animal Resources and Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia 30322

Publication date: 2004-12-01

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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