Wyoming toads (Bufo baxteri) that died from January 1989 to June 1996 were submitted to the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory (Laramie, Wyoming, USA) for postmortem evaluation. These consisted of 108 free-ranging toads and 170 animals from six captive populations. Ninety seven (90%) of 108 free-ranging toad carcasses were submitted during September and October. From 1989 to 1992, 27 (77%) of 35 mortalities in the captive populations occurred in October, November, and December. From 1993 to 1996, mortality in captive toads occurred without a seasonal pattern and coincided with changes in hibernation protocols that no longer mimicked natural cycles. Cause of mortality was determined in 147 (53%) of the 278 cases. Mycotic dermatitis with secondary bacterial septicemia was the most frequent diagnosis in 104 (71%) of 147 toads. Basidiobolus ranarum was found by microscopic examination of skin sections in 100 (96%) of 104 of these mortalities. This fungus was isolated from 30 (56%) of 54 free-ranging and 24 (48%) of 50 captive toads. This research documents the causes of mortality for both free-ranging and captive endangered Wyoming toads over a 7 yr period.
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Vol. 35 • No. 1