Side effects of itraconazole on post-metamorphic Alytes obstetricans after a cold stress

in Amphibia-Reptilia
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Itraconazole is the most widely used treatment against Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), the fungal pathogen causing chytridiomycosis, a proximate cause of amphibian declines. Several side effects of itraconazole treatment, ranging in severity from depigmentation to death have been reported in different amphibian species and life stages, and these side effects were observed at commonly used dosages of itraconazole. However, no studies have investigated side-effects of itraconazole in conjunction with environmental stress. Post-metamorphic midwife toads (Alytes obstetricans) that were treated with itraconazole and subsequently exposed to a cold stress (exposure to 4°C cold water) had higher mortality rates compared to untreated individuals. Moreover, adults of booroolong frogs (Litoria booroolongensis) treated with itraconazole had a higher probability to become infected when subsequently exposed to Bd. Our results suggest that a post-metamorphosis itraconazole treatment of infected midwife toads combined with a subsequent release into the wild may be an ineffective disease mitigation strategy, as the cold stress during hibernation and/or exposure to Bd in the wild may reduce the hibernation emergence rate of treated individuals in this species.


Publication of the Societas Europaea Herpetologica



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  • Survival curves for Alytes obstetricans individuals infected and uninfected with Bd before the experiment.

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  • Survival curves for Alytes obstetricans individuals treated or not with itraconazole before the experiment.

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  • Probability of infection by Bd for Litoria booroolongensis individuals that were treated or not with itraconazole.

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