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Green Tree Frog Surgery

4 July 2014

Four recently-arrived Green Tree Frogs had a visit to the Vet Surgery at Melbourne Zoo this morning.

As it can be difficult to identify a frog just by its markings, the Zoo plays it safe by giving each one a nanochip, the smallest variety of microchip.

Zoo Veterinarian Dr. Sarah Frith says that the nanochip ensures that each frog is easily and definitely identifiable so that accurate records can be kept of any veterinary treatment it may require while it is at the Zoo.

She explains that because the skins of frogs are permeable, they can absorb medication through their skin, so she didn’t need to anaesthetise them to undertake this procedure.

Instead, she applied a topical sedative in the form of a gel on their backs, which calmed them down without fully sedating them.

Then she put some pain relief gel on the spot where she inserted the nanochip and used a very small dot of surgical glue to close the tiny opening.

Then she and Vet Nurse Leanne de Lacy bathed the frogs in warm water to rinse off the sedative remnants and bring them back to full alertness.

Dr. Frith says that it’s the frogs’ permeable skins that make them such reliable environmental indicators, because they are able to absorb pollutants through their skins, making them very vulnerable to environmental degradation.