Pacman Frog Health Problems – The Complete Guide

Pacman frogs probably make one of the most popular amphibian pets among inexperienced owners these days. They are not needy and do not require a lot of attention or time.

However, they are extremely fragile and there are several health complications that can occur from time to time. For being able to recognize Pacman frog health problems, and to react on time, here comes the complete guide.

Horned frogs are not that complicated. They simply require environmental conditions which will imitate those from their natural habitats. Additionally, a healthy meal plan and often cleaning activities are what make a healthy life for them.

If owners monitor their pets and detect health issues on time, there is always a high chance they can actually save their pet’s life. That is why getting to know some general observations about the most common Pacman frog health problems is essentially necessary.

Prevention is better than cure!

Metabolic Bone Disease

To begin here is one of the most common illnesses among amphibian pets. And also, one of the worst.

Metabolic bone disease, as the name says itself, attacks their tiny bones and makes them extremely weak or even deformed. Such illness occurs when pets are not getting enough calcium from their food and their terrarium lighting.

Feeding frogs with protein-enriched meals is great, but their small bodies additionally require calcium and D3 vitamin supplements when held in captivity. This can be received both from UVB light and from food supplements.

Calcium is essential for their bones to grow strong and healthy, and vitamin D3 makes sure that such calcium is properly absorbed by their bodies.

If your Pacman is not getting enough calcium, there will be clear signs such as a droopy jaw, bowed legs, difficulty in any kind of movements, and similar. The earliest you manage to notice your pet has the metabolic bone disease, the less therapy will it need.

Bacterial Infection

Bacterial infections can happen pretty often among young frogs or those who have arrived at a new home.

They are highly stressed during such times and their immune systems drop, making them much more vulnerable to outside factors such as bacteria.

If the enclosure is not impeccably clean, as well as their water and food, bacteria can easily find themselves in the terrarium and attack your pet frog.

Some visible signals of bacterial infection can be loss of appetite, cloudy eyes, red points on the belly and thighs. If you notice such changes, please do contact your veterinarian immediately.

If such signals are disregarded, frogs can get serious complications which can consequentially cause their death.

Fungal Infection

There are several fungal organisms that can cause health complications to frogs, both in captivity and in their natural habitats.

Similar to bacterial infections, fungal infections will also be more excessive when the frog is under higher levels of stress and disorder.

You can suspect your pet has an infection if it stops eating if it is unusually lethargic, has belly redness or sheds skin excessively. Some fungal organisms can leave light-beige to dark-grey nodules on their skin.


Parasites are just as common among pet frogs as they are among any other kind of pet.

They can transfer from food to pets, attacking their tiny bodies from the inside, and causing severe damage if not noticed during an early stage.

The simplest way of checking if your pet has parasites is by regularly checking its feces. Also, weight loss is quite common.

Dry Skin

Dry skin is something that a frog produces in order to try to survive when there is not enough humidity in the terrarium.

Pacman frogs breathe with the help of their skin. That is why it is crucially important for their enclosures to be clean and to have a minimum of 70 percent humidity levels.

If such humidity is not provided, they will not be able of breathing normally. When something like that occurs, their bodies will form a dry cocoon around their skin, to try keeping moisture around the skin as long as possible.

Dry skin is quite visible actually, so spotting such a condition during the earliest phase is crucial for your pet to survive. Another common sign is estivation. Frog bodies are in ˝rough survival mode˝ once they form the dry cocoon, so they will most of the time avoid food.

They can bury themselves quite deep, trying to absorb as much moisture as possible, and stay there for days and days. Most likely, they will stay buried until the right levels of humidity are provided or, unfortunately, until they dry out completely and die.

Toxic Out Syndrome

The toxic out syndrome is extremely painful for your frog pet but can be easily avoided by regular cleaning procedures. It is crucially important to often clean terrariums, to change water on a daily basis, and to monitor the substrate cleanliness.

Additionally, it is important to wash hands thoroughly before handling frogs. If any of this is skipped, your frog will eventually get sick.

As already explained, frogs are such tiny and sensitive creatures, and they breathe through their skin. This makes their skin extremely fragile and gentle. If they get in touch with toxins, their skin will most likely absorb them. And then, very hurtful conditions can occur.

Signs of the toxic out syndrome include erratic jumps, cloudy eyes, spastic extensions of their limbs.


Impaction is a condition caused by inappropriate items placed in the terrariums, such as gravel or decorations, which get swallowed by the frog. But not only.

Impaction can also be caused by feeding your pet with too large food items, such as noticeably big crickets or mice, and also by offering too large amounts of such food. Overeating can be a quite common situation among Pacman frogs which are voracious little eaters. And it can bring to several life-threating complications.

If you suspect that your Pacman has an impaction, you can easily verify that by checking his or her belly. If the belly is really bloated, it has probably overeaten and the stomach is most likely pressuring those tiny lungs, causing breathing difficulties.

On the other hand, if the belly has a hard lump, it means that your frog has swallowed a too large item that is now stuck, threatening his or her life.


Blindness is a severe condition for any Pacman frog, as such pets rely on their vision to catch their prays and to move.

Most of the time, blindness is caused by unsuitable feeding plans. Especially, this refers to such diet plans which involve too much of fat intake. For instance, offering pinky mice on a regular basis instead of as an occasional treat can make your frog to intake too large quantities of fat. If such a feeding plan persists, cholesterol can build up around their corneas, causing blindness.

There are no visible signs of an upcoming blind state, but you can regularly monitor your frog and check if it is getting too fat.


Pacman frogs are famous for being quite lazy little creatures. They like spending their days sitting and waiting for prays to pass by. On top of that, they are voracious eaters and can often swallow whatever they see in front of them.

Such a combination of no exercise and lots of food intake can easily bring to obesity. And obesity can, as to any other kind of animal, bring several serious health complications. That is why feeding your pet frog with the right amount of food, as well as the right quality of food, is essential.

The easiest way to tell if your Pacman is obese is to check if it is growing in width instead of growing proportionally. Additionally, obese pets will move even less then before and can have trouble with breathing normally.

Water Edema Syndrome

Water edema syndrome is, luckily, one of the less common illnesses among Pacman frogs.

It generally occurs when their tiny kidneys or lymph hearts are damaged, which means that their health is then already seriously compromised.

Water edema is easy to spot, as your pet will then simply swell due to water retention. There can be a lot of pressure because of such water retention, which makes moving and feeding extremely difficult for Pacman frogs.

Wrapping Up

After going through our complete guide dedicated to Pacman frog health problems, we can conclude once again that prevention is the best medicine.

As you may have noticed, the very most of these unhealthy conditions are caused by humans, unfortunately.

Not enough humidity, not appropriate temperatures, too much fat intake, too many meals, dirt, bacteria… all these can be avoided by thoroughly researching what your pet needs before even bringing it home. And later, obviously, by providing it all. And finally, by closely monitoring your pets.

If you do happen to see some complications, please do not panic. Most of these issues can be resolved when noticed on time, and your frog can quickly get back to a normal and healthy life.

avatar Noah
I’m Noah, chief editor at VIVO Pets and the proud owner of a playful, energetic husky (Max). I’ve been a volunteer at Rex Animal Rescue for over 2 years. I love learning and writing about different animals that can be kept as pets. read more...

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