Amphibian chytridiomycosis, caused by the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd), has been implicated in the decline and extinction of amphibian species worldwide, in addition to catastrophic losses of animals in captivity. Conservation of threatened amphibians, including captive breeding and maintenance of animals in zoos, research facilities, and private collections, requires effective control of pathogens. Several chemical compounds, including Formalite III®, itraconazole, and chloramphenicol, have been used to treat amphibians infected with Bd, with varying levels of success. Here, we report successful clearance of Bd in five species of post-metamorphic anurans and one caudate species using terbinafine hydrochloride (HCl) in alcohol, which is available over the counter as Lamisil AT™ (Novartis Pharmaceuticals Inc., New York, NY). Treatments consisting of 5 min soak in fresh 0.01% or 0.005% terbinafine HCl in alcohol for either five consecutive days or for six treatments spread across 10 days successfully cleared Bd from 100% of 81 test subjects in eight trials. Our results indicate that terbinafine HCl in alcohol has a high therapeutic index as a treatment for Bd infection in living post-metamorphic amphibians.
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Vol. 20 • No. 1