View Full Version : Deformed limbs?

16th January 2014, 13:13
I just got my first axolotl from an animal welfare shelter. Based on what I have seen here she is a juvenile or young adult wild type. She had lost all but one limb in overcrowded conditions . The problem is she is struggling to move around although she seems to manage to eventually get to where she is going . The front two limbs seems to have grown back but appear almost pinned to her side with little forward movement. She propels herself forward with her tail but does not walk well.

Will this resolve or does she have a problem? The stub if her damaged back leg has grown back but no toes yet.

Any advice/suggestions would be much appreciated as I have no experience with these darling creatures.


16th January 2014, 18:10
Welcome to the wonderful world of axolotl owning! :)

Now, first things first; this information will be useful if she is still healing. Axolotls are great healers and have been known to heal bone, skin, and even organs. But we need to make it as easy for them as possible, so the best thing for your new baby will be nice cool, clean water at around 18 degrees, less if you can, dark, quiet, and earthworms if you can get them to feed her.

You can also provide a tea bath using this recipe:

Tea bath for axolotls
Contributed by Daniel Weiner, August 2007. I mainly use teabaths for minor skin problems. It may also be used with fungal problems but on that account I prefer salt baths. Tea has a slightly antifungal and antibacterial effect (resulting from tannins) and additionally it closes the pores in the skin a little bit (mainly resulting from tannin and caffeine). The skin tightens and gets some kind of protective layer, making it harder for fungi and bacteria to intrude the body. On the other hand it makes it harder for salt or medicine to reach pathogens which are already inside the body - that is the reason I do not use it on fungal infections, although a tea bath is sometimes recommended as a cure for fungal infections by some people.
The medication is as follows: I take one bag of black tea without any additional aroma (it is important to use black tea because this kind of tea is fermented and so it has tannins) for every 10 litres of water (preferably used in a quarantine tank). This tea gets dashed with boiling water in a seperate bowl - I leave it there for at least 10 to 15 minutes so the tannins are resolved into the water. The tea has to cool down and is finally added to the quarantine water. After a week I make a bigger change of water (60% at least), the rest of the tea is removed over time by normal water changes. If you have to make more regular water changes (f.i. in a small bowl or tank) the tea concentration can be refilled. As far as I know there are no negative effects even for long term treatment.
A similar effect (although not as strong) may have the addition of dried oak or beech leafs now and then as a precaution.

Tea baths tighten their skin, preventing infection and fungus from setting in. It also soothes the slime coat. To the best of my knowledge, it has absolutely no negative effects even for long-term use.

The key thing to keep an eye on are the wound sites where her legs are growing back. Be on the lookout for a white cottony substance that brushes off her when she moves, and signs of irritation such as rubbing on ornaments or tank glass. This is fungus and will need to be treated differently. It is a common complication with axolotls that have been wounded.

Axolotls also don't generally use their front legs for swimming, although there are individual variations, of course. The front legs are generally used to grip surfaces, climb and stand. The primary source of swimming power is the axolotl's tail, and they often hold their front legs tight to their bodies when swimming to make themselves more streamlined, so what you're seeing may not be all that unusual.

She may still have some healing to do (legs take around three months) and so that may be why her movements are a little awkward. Keep an eye on her condition and if she appears to be in pain a vet may be in order, but for the moment, try this first aid and see if it helps her to heal herself.

Any more questions, let us know. I hope she is better soon!

16th January 2014, 19:36
When axies grow legs they are very flimsy at first - I believe it takes time for calcium to deposit in their bones. This isn't a problem for baby axies, as they are tiny anyway, but a slightly larger axie - juvenile - will be growing baby legs on a juvie body, and may find they are not strong enough to start with.

Give it time, axies are amazing at repairing themselves, and even if she doesn't manage all her toes in the right place she will mostly recover.

19th January 2014, 03:02
Hi thanks for that info folks. She definitely has her front right leg growing back and seems almost perfect but it is in the wrong direction and she cant move it well. It seems to be bent the wrong way! See picture but you may have to zoom in to see the leg,