0208 943 2303   info@alpha-vets.co.uk
24h Emergency Service 0208 783 2850


How to care for your amphibian

We’re happy to provide amphibian consultations at our veterinary surgery. From frogs and toads, to newts and salamanders, your amphibian vet can offer advice, consultations and treatment to a range of amphibian pets. Find out more about what our amphibian vets can do for your amphibian at our veterinary surgery.


Please call our regular telephone number:  0208 943 2303 (Alpha Teddington); 01372 460107 (Claygate) during office hours and speak to one of our receptionists who will help book you for the correct consultation appointment.


Please remember to inform our receptionists how many pets you will be bringing. Each pet will need to be scheduled individually for a consultation to allow the vet time to properly examine each pet and discuss its problems.


Please note that our staff who answer the ‘Emergency Call’ number outside of office hours, are unable to book regular day time consultations.


Here is a guideline to the different types of consultations we normally provide:

  • Regular Consultation: This is our standard 15 minute consultation with the vet for an animal with a new health problem, a problem that has recurred from some time ago, or an ongoing problem.
  • Second Opinion Consultation:  If your pet has been to see another vet for this problem (within the last year) and you would like our opinion on the problem, then we need to read the previous medical record, blood results and x-rays etc. We can then learn what medicines have been used and what the original vet found on examination. We need to do this in order to properly understand your pets’ condition and provide you with a good second opinion. As this takes time to arrange, the consultation must generally be booked at least one day in advance. This is a more complex and time consuming procedure, we normally schedule for you to spend 30 minutes with the veterinarian and we charge a higher fee.
  • Walk in Consultation:  If you come in without an appointment booked we will try our best to fit you in, however, you may have to wait for an hour or even longer if the vets are busy. Of course if your pet’s life is in danger we will assess their condition and may admit them into the hospital while we make a vet available. The Walk in Consultation is generally scheduled for 15 minutes with the veterinarian but is charged at a higher fee than the Regular Consultation.
  • We strongly advise our clients to try and make an appointment as we are often fully booked or very busy. We do not want your pet to become stressed if they have to wait a long time.
  • Referral Consultation: This is when another vet has asked you to come and consult with us as they feel we have more expertise with amphibians or with your amphibian’s specific problem. In these cases the other veterinarian will directly fax us a ‘Referral Letter’ and your amphibians medical records. Afterwards we will also inform your original vet of the outcome of the case. This also requires the extended 30 minute consultation.

Once you have made the appointment please make sure that you, or whoever is bringing in the pet, has all the information as follows:

  1. How long your pet has been sick for and what symptoms is it showing
  2. What food your pet is fed on, including any snacks and supplements
  3. Any medicines that may have been given to your pet (please bring in the packets or containers)
  4. What is the origin of your pet and what animals has it been in contact with
  5. What are the urine & faeces (poop), usually like, what are they presently like
  6. That the owner or a decision maker will be available on the telephone if they cannot come in

Please note that to sign a consent form (for example for an operation or if your pet needs to be admitted into hospital) legally it must be someone over the age of 18 years old to sign.

We require payment for the services provided immediately after a consultation. If your pet does unfortunately need to be admitted to hospital or for surgery you will be required to pay a deposit. To try and make it more convenient for you we do accept payments by cash, cheque, debit and credit cards.


And don’t forget to collect your Alpha Card our free loyalty card that gives you 1% back on everything you spend with us! You collect points on your card, which you can redeem against any of our services or products! The card is free to all clients, and we even give you 500 points (=£5) to get you started! Ask at reception for more details when you come in.


Amphibians constitute a fascinating class of animals, which includes frogs, toads, newts and salamanders. There are over 6,000 different species. The species most commonly kept as pets and seen at the clinic include African clawed frogs (Xenopus species), White tree frogs (Litoria caerulea) and Ornate frogs (Ceratophrys species). Many children have kept tadpoles and watched them grow and change into little frogs before setting them free.


An important point to understand about amphibians is that although they are lumped with reptiles as “herptiles”, actually they are not that similar. Generally speaking, amphibians are less tolerant of husbandry problems than reptiles. Amphibians do not tolerate temperature changes well and are very, very sensitive to water balance problems and environmental poisons due to the permeable and sensitive nature of their skin.


They are not easy pets to keep as their needs are so specific and they generally do best when housed in a natural vivarium or tank based on the natural history of the species.

Ornate frogs can and are often kept in a simple glass bowl but this is not fair to them as it is a very empty and boring environment.


Water quality is very important, and must be clean and free of toxins. As tap water contains chlorine this is not acceptable.  Water PH, salinity and water hardness will vary according to the species, as will the temperature and lighting requirements.


Most amphibians are very sensitive to overheating, and they do not like temperatures changing too quickly. Most live in rivers and lakes where there is only a slow change with the seasons.


Most species are carnivores and insectivores, and it can be difficult to find appropriate live food, especially when they are very small.

They are often quite greedy and will gulp up food, which has two problems:

  • Firstly, they can get far too fat

Secondly, they can swallow stones in their enclosure


It is important to understand that as their skin is so sensitive we can injure them just by touching them, and we should always wear gloves when handling them.  The tank should not have rough textures or sharp points as they may injure themselves.


Skin disease is very common due to very sensitive skin and the difficulty of keeping the water quality perfect.  It can be very difficult to medicate a slippery frog so the best way to prevent disease is by making sure the husbandry is correct.

Special Care

Amphibians and reptiles can both carry the salmonella bacteria in the gut without showing symptoms. Humans, especially children, can become quite sick if they are infected with salmonella bacteria.

Good hygiene is important with all pets. Please see our ‘Home Care’ section for further information on Salmonella in reptiles and amphibians.

Learn more about your pet

You can download our PDF documents for more information.

Cushings Syndrome

Guinea Pig – Feeding


Cat – Moving House

Exotic – Critical Care

Cat & Dog – Bereavement

Remember, you can contact us anytime!