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Salamander Swollen Arm

This is a discussion on Salamander Swollen Arm within the Newt and Salamander Help forums, part of the Beginner Newt, Salamander, Axolotl & Help Topics category; Hi, my name is Kayla Simpson. My paddle tail salamander Damon has a very swollen front left arm that looks ...

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Old 16th December 2015   #1 (permalink)
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Default Salamander Swollen Arm

Hi, my name is Kayla Simpson. My paddle tail salamander Damon has a very swollen front left arm that looks very pale compared to his normally dark color. He was kept with my other paddle tail salamander named Newt, but he viciously attacked her constantly so I put her in her own tank. Newts wounds healed perfectly, and she is okay. But now out of the blue, a couple weeks after they have been separated, Damon's leg is swollen and discolored when he had no signs of this when he had a tank mate before. He shed last week and ate it, and everything was fine but now this is happening. He is still eating, but does not roam around the tank as much as he used to. Newts tank is always kept nice and chilly between 55-62 degrees F, but Damons tank is in my room, and is more difficult to keep cold, and ranges from 66-70 degrees F, but I try to keep it low as possible so it is usually at 66. I take a cup of his tank water and freeze it in the freezer then put the ice in his tank to melt at least once a day, in attempts of keeping the tank cooler. He has no tank mates other than some snails, and he is kept with gravel and live plants with access to air (10 gallon tank filled half way) and places to climb up on. He doesn't have any hides, but there is a turtle perch that casts shade on one corner of the tank that he likes to sit under, and I rarely put the tank light on (I don't want it to heat up the water, so it only goes on during feedings). Damon also likes to curl around the filter every now and then (I have a little Whisper Filter). He is given a water change once a week. Any ideas what could be wrong with his leg and how I could help this little guy out?
Quick side note, I do not actually know their sex, I am only guessing.
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Last edited by kSimp; 16th December 2015 at 18:17.
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Old 16th December 2015   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Salamander Swollen Arm

Hi Kayla, welcome to the site. :)
It looks to me like an infection has taken hold for some reason, maybe an old wound or a small injury that's got worse and infected the whole leg.
These kinds of problems can often be a result of stress suppressing the animal's immune system to a point where it can no longer fight off infections, so a small injury can escalate very quickly.
If it was my newt I would take it to a vet, but if this isn't an option you could try the treatments described in this link.

Caudata Culture Articles - Sores

Whatever treatment you decide on, you need to make improving his tank a priority. As it is, there is only five gallons of water in there. The minimum recommended water volume for aquatic newts is ten gallons, in smaller volumes water quality and temperature can fluctuate quickly which can be very stressful. Happy paddletails are usually 100% aquatic in captivity, so his tank should be filled almost to the top to take advantage of the rest of the available space.
The filter sounds good and live plants are excellent for most newt tanks, but he should also have at least one hide, to have him in a tank with nowhere to get out the way is pretty cruel really, especially as its so easy to put him a cave or broken flowerpot in there, he will be curling round the filter because its the only cover he can find.
These are all easy things to do, but they will improve his environment no end and give him the best possible chance of recovering.



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Old 17th December 2015   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Salamander Swollen Arm

Hi, probably already know all this stuff, your newt appears to be a type of "Paddle-tail" newt, here is their care-guide if you haven't found it already: Caudata Culture Species Entry - Pachytriton - Paddletail

Most of these guys and most other newts in the pet-trade are mass exported from Asia, and as such are stressed, which lowers their immune systems, which makes them susceptible to diseases and parasites. Also, I'd recommend either getting a larger tank with more hiding spots, or giving them two separate tanks to reduce aggression, as this species is essentiality the "Pit-bull" of the newt world, and this species is aggressive towards any other animal it's size or smaller (And sometimes bigger) and that is likely the cause of your newts injury. Here is the articles for injuries, and bites are on the list: Caudata Culture Articles - Illness Part 1 Caudata Culture Articles - Illness Part 3

And to quote what the Culture articles say without you having to look through it all:
Quote:
Injuries from tankmates: Isolate animal. Leg injury
This paddletail newt was injured in the pet shop, probably by a tankmate. Despite the protruding bone, the leg did heal and regrow without intervention. View original Forum Thread
And incase you haven't seen these already: Caudata Culture Articles - Cycling Caudata Culture Articles - Food Items for Captive Caudates Caudata Culture Articles - Captive Care Catastrophes

That is all I have to say for now, and I hope your newt gets better!



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Old 20th December 2015   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Salamander Swollen Arm

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Originally Posted by Sith the turtle View Post
Hi, probably already know all this stuff, your newt appears to be a type of "Paddle-tail" newt, here is their care-guide if you haven't found it already: Caudata Culture Species Entry - Pachytriton - Paddletail

Most of these guys and most other newts in the pet-trade are mass exported from Asia, and as such are stressed, which lowers their immune systems, which makes them susceptible to diseases and parasites. Also, I'd recommend either getting a larger tank with more hiding spots, or giving them two separate tanks to reduce aggression, as this species is essentiality the "Pit-bull" of the newt world, and this species is aggressive towards any other animal it's size or smaller (And sometimes bigger) and that is likely the cause of your newts injury. Here is the articles for injuries, and bites are on the list: Caudata Culture Articles - Illness Part 1 Caudata Culture Articles - Illness Part 3

And to quote what the Culture articles say without you having to look through it all: And incase you haven't seen these already: Caudata Culture Articles - Cycling Caudata Culture Articles - Food Items for Captive Caudates Caudata Culture Articles - Captive Care Catastrophes

That is all I have to say for now, and I hope your newt gets better!

My two Paddle Tail Salamanders ARE in different tanks, and have been for weeks. I separated them after the first sign of aggression, and the Salamander who sustained injuries healed fine. The sick Salamander is the one who inflicted the injuries, he was not picked on. This started happening a good time after they were separated.



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Old 20th December 2015   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Salamander Swollen Arm

Okay good. What is the water quality (PH, Ammonia, Nitrate, ect) and what type of food do you feed it? Seem to know your stuff which is good



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Old 20th December 2015   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Salamander Swollen Arm

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chinadog View Post
Hi Kayla, welcome to the site. :)
It looks to me like an infection has taken hold for some reason, maybe an old wound or a small injury that's got worse and infected the whole leg.
These kinds of problems can often be a result of stress suppressing the animal's immune system to a point where it can no longer fight off infections, so a small injury can escalate very quickly.
If it was my newt I would take it to a vet, but if this isn't an option you could try the treatments described in this link.

Caudata Culture Articles - Sores

Whatever treatment you decide on, you need to make improving his tank a priority. As it is, there is only five gallons of water in there. The minimum recommended water volume for aquatic newts is ten gallons, in smaller volumes water quality and temperature can fluctuate quickly which can be very stressful. Happy paddletails are usually 100% aquatic in captivity, so his tank should be filled almost to the top to take advantage of the rest of the available space.
The filter sounds good and live plants are excellent for most newt tanks, but he should also have at least one hide, to have him in a tank with nowhere to get out the way is pretty cruel really, especially as its so easy to put him a cave or broken flowerpot in there, he will be curling round the filter because its the only cover he can find.
These are all easy things to do, but they will improve his environment no end and give him the best possible chance of recovering.
Hello, and thank you for the warm welcome!
The reason I keep my water level at half is because when I first got Newt and Damon, it appeared that they had a lot of difficulty swimming up to the surface to get air, and I wanted to make it easiest for them as possible. Now they both (even though they are in different aquariums) crawl up onto things I have in the tank and kinda wiggle up from there to get air since it takes less effort then going from the ground up. I am worried about raising the levels in Damons tank for obvious reasons, his leg being mostly useless at the moment, and now when he tries to get air it is a very violent process. He tends to crawl on my big petrified wood chunk and sit partially out of the water, which he did not do before (and the temperature is lower now than when I first got him, since I have been using the ice method). It looked before like his leg was just rotting off, but now it is so hard to get a good look at his leg, I see black (like his skin color) and red and white now, so it might be trying to heal? I put a hide in the tank for him but I never see him in it, and his appetite is going down noticeably. A new development that is really worrying me is these guys are supposed to have smooth skin, but as of today he has developed random bumps all over his skin. He is also keeping his tail curled about halfway through the tail, with the tip facing his injured leg. Every now and then he swishes the tip of his tail semi-slowly. I don't know Salamander lango, but he has never done this until today.

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Old 20th December 2015   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Salamander Swollen Arm

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Originally Posted by Sith the turtle View Post
Okay good. What is the water quality (PH, Ammonia, Nitrate, ect) and what type of food do you feed it? Seem to know your stuff which is good
Well, this is my first time owning this type of animal but I have long term experience with Leopard Geckos and Fish, I like to do as much research as possible before taking on a new pet. I just feel like I don't know enough to help this little guy out and it is really stressing me out. I can't find much on the internet that is like what he is going through, so I am just at a kind of loss. Hence why I joined here in hopes that y'all would be able to help me out :)
Nitrates and Nitrites have been borderline high so I have been keeping an eye on that, and we have hard water. There's no chlorine, Alkalinity is Ideal and pH is Neutral.
Is it safe to use Prime on these guys? I use it on my fish and it works great, but I don't know if it is safe for these guys. It says "Prime. Concentrated Conditioner for Marine & Freshwater. Removes Chlorine & Chloramine. Detoxifies Ammonia, Nitrite & Nitrate. Provides Slime Coat." Its non-acidic and doesn't affect pH.
I feed him blood worms. He loved them until his appetite went down recently.



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Old 20th December 2015   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Salamander Swollen Arm

Click the image to open in full size.
Here is a picture I was able to snap real quick so you can see a little bit of his arm. He is being difficult and though he is out in the front of the tank, he is only showing me is right side, not his injured side. Because of the placement of the tank I cant get my head above the tank to see his arm for myself from above, but as the previous pictures show, I can get my phone in there to take a look.
Something to point out that I don't know if it's normal or not is that he has a white film under his face and belly that you can see clearly in this image.

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Here is another one I got from aerial view. The weird looking spot on his tail is just a bubble on the waters surface.



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Old 20th December 2015   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Salamander Swollen Arm

He moved so I was able to get some pictures of his bad arm. He keeps swishing the tip of his tail like he is trying to fan his arm or something. It looks really bad- I don't even think he has toes left anymore
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Old 20th December 2015   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Salamander Swollen Arm

I haven't seen anything like those lumps before, I can't even guess what's causing it. He's obviously very sick and under weight, I think a vet is his only hope now.
Whatever it is could even be contagious so its vital that you don't use any nets, buckets or anything else that's been in contact with his water on your other paddletail's tank, the last thing you want is it spreading to him as well.



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Old 20th December 2015   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Salamander Swollen Arm

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Originally Posted by Chinadog View Post
I haven't seen anything like those lumps before, I can't even guess what's causing it. He's obviously very sick and under weight, I think a vet is his only hope now.
Whatever it is could even be contagious so its vital that you don't use any nets, buckets or anything else that's been in contact with his water on your other paddletail's tank, the last thing you want is it spreading to him as well.
I called around and none of the vets are willing to talk to me over the phone or through email because they say they cant legally give me any advice without me coming in and paying them to look at him. One place said that I could surrender him for free so they would own him, but that they would probably put him down if it isn't a quick fix. And that place isn't very close to my location anyways.



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Old 21st December 2015   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Salamander Swollen Arm

In all honesty, yes, I think it's time for a vet visit too. I have heard of this treatment for infected arms before, if the vet can't help, which I think some competent ones can help, you may be able to amputate the arm, and keep it in ideal conditions while it grows back. Here's the culture article about it:
Quote:
Amputation: As many caudates are able to regenerate lost legs and tails, amputation can be used to treat injury or limb rot. Should be done by a vet.
(Actually, while searching, I found something else that may help you: Caudata Culture Articles - Sores
Quote:
The following topical treatments have all been used with caudates as either an adjunct to antibiotics or in addition to the method discussed below. Unfortunately, little information is available on these products and their effectiveness in treatment – use with caution.
  • Hydrogen peroxide. Dab infected area with a Q-tip soaked in 1.5% hydrogen peroxide (generally a 1:1 dilution of the solution sold in pharmacies). Rinse well with clean water. Do not apply to large areas of skin, as it does cause some damage to healthy tissues. Hydrogen peroxide is effective mainly on anaerobic bacteria. Thus is it more likely to be beneficial for deep wounds, not surface wounds or ulcers.
  • Iodine solution. Create a dilute solution by adding ¼ tsp (1.25 ml) of 10% povidone iodine to 1 cup (300 ml) of clean water. The resultant solution resembles iced tea if diluted properly. Dab the infected area with a Q-tip soaked in diluted iodine solution. After application, be sure to dab the area dry and rinse with dechlorinated water or sterile saline. Use iodine based medications with caution and in small amounts. These must be diluted before use, as iodine is highly toxic to amphibians. DO NOT bathe the animal in these chemicals.
  • Bactine (0.13% benzalconium chloride + lidocaine). See: USGS Guidelines for Handling Amphibians.
  • Regular tap water. Another method utilizes cleaning with regular tap water containing chlorine. Only use your tap water if it is known to be relatively safe.
I hope your newt gets better, and I would love to hear what the vet says!



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Old 22nd December 2015   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Salamander Swollen Arm

I also think professional medical care is called for, but in the mean time I would keep the little guy in the fridge. This may help to slow down the growth of pathogens as well as decrease the newt's metabolism (since it is eating poorly now).

Years ago I had a paddeltail whose back feet were bitten off by a tank mate (he wriggled under a poorly placed tank divider to get to the female, who was not impressed with his gestures). Though the wounds never looked infected, the animal appeared dead following the attack. I did not want to give up on him, so I placed him in a covered, shallow plastic container with tank water and then in the fridge. I replaced the water every day for weeks, even though he really showed no sign of improvement (the only reason I kept at it was because there was no decomposition so I figured there must still be life in there, even if there was no real sign of it). Really, it took weeks, but finally there was movement, then he started eating, and after probably about 2 months from the time of the injury he was able to go back to the home tank (with a properly placed tank divider this time).

In my experience, this species of newt is tough and capable of recovery from horrendous injuries. I wish you the best of luck in helping this little one.

HJ



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