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Swollen cloaca

This is a discussion on Swollen cloaca within the Sick Axolotl? forums, part of the Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) category; Hello all, I had a browse through the old threads but can't find anything quite the same as the problem ...

Sick Axolotl? Axolotl looking down in the gills? The doctors are in.

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Old 29th November 2011   #1 (permalink)
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Default Swollen cloaca

Hello all, I had a browse through the old threads but can't find anything quite the same as the problem I've had. If there is, someone do link me. Thanks!


I was just heading in to work this morning and my leucistic male axie was swimming around the top of the tank, which is odd. I noticed he has a large, red swollen cloaca (and probably did yesterday too) and the poor thing looks so sore.

He lives with another male axie in a big tank with a sand substrate and nothing pebbley he could get stuck. He's probably about 4 years old and has been in this tank for a good few months with no trouble. I feed him on an earthworm about every day/every other day. Other axie not having any trouble, that I've noticed.

I don't have the water quality to hand as I had to get to work early this morning. Wanted to post this as soon as possible so I could start dealing with stuff when I get home. The only comment I could make is that the water is a little hard, and it would definitely be fairly cool in there.

I guess he must be constipated - I haven't seen him poo. I never see either of them poo (and yet the poo is there...) Alternatively he may have been bitten? Got a quick pic this morning, sorry for poor quality. I would very much appreciate advice and also preferably the degree of urgency. If necessary I can get off work early.

Thanks everybody.
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Old 29th November 2011   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Swollen cloaca

I'm not an expert and you will probably want to check my advice against that of a moderator but I believe fridging is recommended for this kind of problem. If it is constipation then the cool of the fridge should help him 'void' himself so to speak. Sounds like you've caught it early so hopefully you won't have too many problems.



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Old 29th November 2011   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Swollen cloaca

I just fished him out of the tank he is not in a great state at all... He hadn't been eating very well for a while, but then he seemed to perk up and eat more and put on weight. In hindsight, he must have just been spitting out the worms and the other axie ate them. His front end is thin, he's lost weight - but back end bloated. I guess that is consistent with constipation. I've put him in the fridge. If anyone has any further advice I'd really appreciate it.



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Old 1st December 2011   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Swollen cloaca

OK I haven't had much response but there are a few more symptoms now so I hope that somebody will chip in...

i've had Chewy in the fridge since Tuesday evening (It's is now Thursday evening). He's been at ~8C in that time with 100% water changes daily (I keep the fresh water in the fridge at same temp). He seems to be a lot less swollen around the body and is approaching a more normal shape (except thin ). He's passed a bit of sand and some weird see through poop, but not very much of either.

He has two very swollen lumps around his cloaca, and his legs are bloated. One of them has a few red speckles. In addition, on his other leg, his foot is very red on the underside. Around his nether regions there is also a red spot - almost like a small cut, which is on the opposite side to his cloaca and wasn't there when I put him. Apparently there was also a small amount of blood in the water today - I didn't see it but the person who checked said it was a drop that was spreading out in the water (and no sign of it when i looked)

His tank mate hasn't shown any signs of being unwell (though is wild type so harder to spot red) and is eating fine. Chewy actually seems fairly calm too. I checked water in tank - no nitrite, no ammonia but quite high nitrate (160ppm) so I'll change the water for the next few days.

I've attached some photos. I'd really like help please as I'm not sure what to do.
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Swollen cloaca-chewy-top.jpg   Swollen cloaca-chewy-cloaca.jpg   Swollen cloaca-chewy-foot.jpg  




Last edited by Cori; 1st December 2011 at 23:02. Reason: forgot to add info
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Old 1st December 2011   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Swollen cloaca

Oh god is this red leg?



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Old 3rd December 2011   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Swollen cloaca

Have these two males been together for just a few months? What size tank are they in and what size are they?

There may be aggression going on from two mature males in the same tank. Have you seen any spermatophores in the tank?

I will suggest separating the males and see if things don't get better. Normally swollen cloaca are a sign of maturity but red like this is not normal.

The red spots look like ammonia burn. Just keep up with readings and water changes. The blood circulating in the tank almost confirms my feelings of fighting males. I have also read something about the swollen hind legs but can't remember exactly what it was about. Try searching the forum for it.

If you see any white cottony growths you should proceed with salt baths.

For now separate them and keep the temps cold and keep offering food.



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Old 3rd December 2011   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Swollen cloaca

Thanks for your advice hdonahue. Chewy has been separate from his tank mate (I think they've lived togteher for over a year now) and in the fridge since I noticed the swelling. He was bleeding by himself, and I've been doing 100% daily water changes. There's no ammonia in the main tank (I can't remember precisely how big it is but it is over a metre wide - it's a carp tank).

I figure I might as well keep updating his progress just in case someone ends up in a similar predicament.

Chewy and I went to the vet. It took a bit of hunting to find one that knew what to do, but I found a relatively local exotics vet. She was very enthusiastic and had a little experience with axolotls. She confirmed symptoms of red leg (ie, haemorraghing in his legs/cloaca) which is likely secondary to something - hypothesised parasites and a dirty tank (nitrate levels high - it's fairly new and I thought I had the levels sorted but guess not). Chewy's had an injection of antibiotics and I'm bathing him daily in diluted f10. He's staying out of the fridge (in cool, dark room) and is still bleeding but moving and responsive. I also have some antibiotic to inject into his food but can't persuade him to eat. i could try to force feed him butI think he's already stressed out enough as it is. Obviously prognosis is not good but I'll keep an eye on things.

If there are any more developments, I'll let people know. Hope this is useful.



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Old 6th December 2011   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Swollen cloaca

I figure i'll give another update. Hope no one minds!

I took Chewy to the vet again on Monday for another shot of antibiotics. As the vet put it, the haemorraghing is getting "organised". One of his rear legs is less bloated. He has a large blood filled abcess by the front of his leg which I am aching to pop but I don't want to stress him out. He had another one behind the leg which did pop, but hasn't grown back and the daily F10 baths have kept it clean.

He's lost rather a lot of blood over the course of the last week and I didn't succeed in getting any of the drugged worms down him so the vet suggested I attempt to force feed him some undrugged food just to get something in him (as he is horribly thin now that the bloating has gone down). and gave me some 'carnivore care' stuff. I had a read the guide on this site and was not looking forward to it, and just when i was planning to get started I figured I'd wave a worm (undrugged) under his nose on the off chance, and he swallowed it. It's stayed down all night so I assume it's gone through OK. I offered him another this morning but he's not eaten yet - not sure if anyone can suggest optimum reintroduction to food after starvation rate. I guess we'll take it slow, but it's really good news! hoping worm doesn't come back again.

Anyway it seems that the antibiotics are helping - so I hope this is potentially useful to someone in future. Will update again if there's more to say.



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Old 8th December 2011   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Swollen cloaca

One more injection for Chewy today, he is still full of blood (bruises basically) but seems to be going uphill... ish. I've been trying to get him to eat another worm and was planning a force feed tonight. On reading the thread here, the writer commented that their axies are 'picky' so on the offchance, I gave chewy some bacon, which he devoured. I rushed to the shop to get some mince and some prawns (seeing as I wasn't sure if axies were supposed to eat bacon) and offered them to him. He was extremely interested in the prawn but wouldn't take it, and after a bit of prodding he spat the bacon out - which he'd had in his mouth the whole time. Guess I stressed him out Will try again in an hour or two anyway. But there is a useful thing for people! Earthworms are great but apparently axies get sick of them sometimes.



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Old 9th December 2011   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Swollen cloaca

Not sure if I'm correct here, hopefully someone else will say, but I don't think it is good to feed him random pieces of meat. Pigs I'm sure are not in it's "diet". Not sure on the prawn.Sorry your having a rough time with your axie! Hope he gets better! :)



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Old 9th December 2011   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Swollen cloaca

In normal situations, it's not an ideal food. But sometimes you take what you can get!

Good luck with your little guy, Cori!



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Old 9th December 2011   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Swollen cloaca

Yeah i know bacon prawns and beef aren't ideal but he could use the junk food, he is so incredibly thin. Will get him on worms as soon as possible.

I've learned that, for some reason, he will eat tiny chunks of food if they are dropped by his left side. Not the right, and not if you are holding it. Aiming is difficult.



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Old 11th December 2011   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Swollen cloaca

In response to the earlier comments, I spoke with my mum (who is a people doctor) who said that we should definitely not give chewy prawns or bacon. Both are too salty, which is obviously bad for fresh water animals. In addition prawns (and basically anything that's been in the sea) will contain iodine. So we resorted to mince, which he will eat if tiny enough.

Went through with force feeding him today. Got about 0.5ml of carnivore care down him (am hoping dearly no one posts to say DON'T GIVE THEM CARNIVORE CARE!!)... it actually wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Hardest part was getting him in the cloth but once he had his mouth opened he didn't really bother to close it, and the food ran down the spatula into his mouth, fairly neatly. Will keep going with that as it's probably the best way to get him going again.

(Can't believe this is still going )



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Old 11th December 2011   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Swollen cloaca

.
You should try to feed him 2 inch chunks of worms. A size that i easy for him to swallow. Sometimes they have problems swallowing food items for some unknown reason. Go dig some from your yard or local wood lot. If you want to use something that is easy to buy at the super market try small slender slices of talapia . It's a common farm raised fresh water fish. ( Really tates good if cooked with some crushed coriander.) If you rotate worms and talapia he will be fine. Offer him food two or three times a day. Trying to get him to eat a lot all at once will not work and just frustrate you more.



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Old 3rd January 2012   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Swollen cloaca

Hello, just posting a quick update!

Chewy is a LOT better now. The patches he was red, he's now brown (Ie, like a faint bruise). His swelling has gone down dramatically and today the vet reckoned he was fine to just recover in peace for a bit.

Essentially, we started treating him with gentomycin injections every 3 days and giving him F10 baths every day, with 100% water changes. He was kept at room temperature to let his metabolism do its thing. He wasn't taking food so we eventually force fed him some carnivore care. After that he took a small piece of bacon, followed by mince. Would recommend avoiding bacon though as it's quite salty, but we were desperate at the time! his poo was green and mucusy but eventuall returned to normal. He had 5 injections all told, and seemed a lot better by the 5th. I've been feeding him mince and bloodworms since, as he just won't go for worms any more, and doing large water changes every day. He's still not up to his original weight but he's improving.

If anyone has similar problems, I wish them the best!



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Old 3rd January 2012   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: Swollen cloaca

Glad he's on the mend for ya. :0)



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