Why Do African Clawed Frogs Bloat?

Why Do African Clawed Frogs Bloat

The African clawed frog is one of the smallest species of frogs out there. They’re nice and non-aggressive pets to keep in a home aquarium tank, so they make good pets. But this specie of frog is a low-maintenance pet, but they are living things which are also prone to some diseases too. If you have seen your African clawed frog grow very big and look as if it is going to float or burst, then that may be why you’re reading this article, to find the answer for the sudden excessive fatness.

Why do African clawed frog bloat? A disease known as dropsy or bloat is responsible for frogs swelling up, especially African clawed frogs. This disease fills the frog’s skin and organs with fluid, causing the frog to swell up.

This disease is known by many names, especially among medical practitioners.

It is known as dropsy, edema, hydropsy, bloat or ascites.

Related: Why a Frog may drown

Your vet might use any of these words, but they all mean the same thing.

As of today, nobody actually know the real cause of bloat in frogs, but could only guess.

Some people say it is caused by frogs eating freeze dried flood worms etc.

But these are all guessed work.

This disease can be very server and deadly to frogs.

Related: Why is my frog so fat?

To make matters worst, it has no well-accepted permanent cure, but only treatments.

Although some treatments are very effective and will free your frog to be lively and normal again.

So if you keep frogs as pets, especially the African clawed frogs or African Dwarf Frogs, then you might be surprised you will wake up one day and see your frog so swelled up like it’s going to burst.

If you see this all of a sudden, then it might definitely be caused by this disease known as bloat or dropsy.

Related: Why are my Dwarf Frogs hiding?

So calling the attention of a vet is the best solution.

Don’t attempt to treat him by yourself, or you will end up hurting or even killing your frog.

Imagine fluids pilling up in a frog’s body and vital organs.
It will be very painful and stressful.

But although the frog might seems to be normal and can still eat very well, but the only sign you will notice is that it is swelling up unusually.

Related: Why is my frog climbing out of water?

Although sometimes, frogs might swallow gravels and rocks which might make them swell up, so find out if it’s bloat or it swallowed objects by contacting a vet for possible x-ray.

Possible treatment

Like I said, there is no known permanent cure for this type of frog disease.

But treatment could be very effective and might actually cure the disease and make the frog to last more time like months and even years etc.

So there are some treatments which people normally apply on frogs that are suffering for dropsy disease.

They includes:

Putting them in a salt water: This is done and suggested by many people to use to release some water that has pilled up in their frog’s body.

Related: 5 reasons why your frog is upside down

Holding to the argument that saltwater could drain the water from the frog’s body.

Well this is true to some extent, but it has some fatal implications.

We all know that saltwater is very harmful to frogs and will kill any frog if they stay in salt water for a little while longer.

Although This method can seem to work, but trust me no vet could suggest this because it is harmful and could even kill the animal you’re trying to save.

Another treatment is putting needles in the frogs abdomen:

This is a more effective way to treat this type of disease in frogs.

Many veterinarians use and suggest this method of treatment for dropsy disease in frogs.

They do this by gently inserting a needle in the abdomen of the infected frog.

Thereby allowing the water in the frog’s body to come out, thereby releasing the frog from the pain and stress the disease might have caused it.

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This remedy is so effective that it releases them from their pains and misery in a matter of minutes after completing it, and could help them live for years.

Although this remedy is very effective for treating frogs suffering from dropsy disease, but don’t try doing it on your own, as you might kill your frog by piercing some vital part of it’s body.

Vets are always the best in anything that has to do with treatment of animals.

Another possible treatment is – prescribed Enrofloxacin 0.5mg/mL, put frog on wet paper towel and put the medicine on his back for 30 min, 2x per day 12 hours apart for two weeks.

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I have read some testimonies on forums from some frog owners about how this remedy worked for them and their African clawed frogs seems to be cured etc.

Although I would certainly advise you to meet a vet. Because they’re expert when it comes to animal’s health, they’re professionals.

Avoid treating on your own because you have no idea what might happen next.

So save the life of your pet frog by contacting a vet doctor to do his work.

Possible preventions

As We all know, there is no proven cause or causes of this disease.

Some thoughts has been directed towards the electrolyte balance of the water causing the disorder.

Regardless, it is never a bad idea to keep your water as clean as possible, remove the chlorine from the water always test the water pH to maintain a neutral level (7.0-7.2).

Some people say it is caused by frogs eating freezed dried flood worms etc.

But these are all guess work.

So you may avoid feeding them with such foods, who knows.

Also you should try to keep their tank and filter clean in order to curb any disease that might have infected them.

Talking about cleaning the tank, avoid detergents, unless recommended by a vet.

Also try to quarantine your frogs before putting them in their permanent tank, as some might already have some diseases.


Like I always say and advise, am not a vet, so I don’t offer medical advice.

All these are for information and not In anyway a medical advice.

Contact a vet if you notice any any issue with your pets.