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

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Old 23rd May 2019   #1
SarahimPalin
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Default Floating axolotl, swollen cloaca

Hello all,
My axolotl Mozu is sick. She has an extremely swollen cloaca, and she can't stop floating- can see her scrambling with her front legs trying to reach the ground. From what I've googled, she's most likely constipated, so I've fridged her. However, after four days she still hasn't pooped, and is looking even more swollen. It's been about a week since she's eaten. She showed no signs of illness before Sunday night, and our other axolotl is fine. We do water changes monthly, last change was about 2 weeks ago. She's about four years old, and 99% sure she's female since she was flat in that area until she fell ill. Is there anything else we can do?
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Old 26th May 2019   #2
Hayley
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Default Re: Floating axolotl, swollen cloaca

Wow I was going to say, looks like a male!
Is it eating at all? Do you notice anything coming out of the cloaca (clear, white, red)? If you see any pink/clear flesh it could be a prolapse and needs vet treatment.



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Old 26th May 2019   #3
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Default Re: Floating axolotl, swollen cloaca

Thanks for your reply Hayleyy. She hasn't eaten anything in about 10 days now. She usually has a huge appetite, but the lack of hunger could be part of the fridging process? We've offered the usual axolotl mix, beef heart, blood worms, brine shrimp, not interested in any of it. The tank has a sand substrate, so there isn't anything large she could have swallowed.

We haven't seen anything coming out of the cloaca, but it is very red and inflamed. Could well be a prolapse. I called the local vet, but they don't know anything about axolotls unfortunately. There is a specialist vet I'm going to give a call for advice when they open tomorrow, but it's a three hour drive away and I'm not sure if a long car ride would be great for her in her current state.

She's been in the fridge for a week now. Is this still the best place for her? It sucks seeing her unwell and not knowing how to help.



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Old 27th May 2019   #4
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Default Re: Floating axolotl, swollen cloaca

Quick update, I found a closer vet that treats axolotls, so we're taking her in on Wednesday. Still an hour's drive, but a lot closer. Fingers crossed they have a solution.



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Old 28th May 2019   #5
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Default Re: Floating axolotl, swollen cloaca

Great to hear you found a closer vet. Let me know how it goes. In the meantime keep her nice and cool. What temperature is the fridge keeping the tub?



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Old 30th May 2019   #6
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Default Re: Floating axolotl, swollen cloaca

So, she went pretty well at the vet. Turn out she had a pretty bad impaction from tiny pieces of gravel in the sand. The pieces were about 2mm by 4mm, so they should usually be able to pass them, but she'd managed to get about seven stuck inside. No idea if it built up over the years or she just had one really unlucky gulp. The vet cleared out the stones with an enema.
We've removed all the sand from the tank and tried putting her back in the tank last night, but she was still floating with her backside up, so back into the little container she went.

Unfortunately, she's looking very unwell today, lying on her side and barely moving. I don't think she's going to make it. Too much stress from the treatment on top of not eating for nearly two weeks now. She's in the fridge at the moment, but I think she's beyond help. The fridge doesn't specify the temperature with the dial, so it's just set to the warmest setting at the moment.

Please, please everyone check your substrate if you have a gulper. Our other axolotl is eight and has lived on it all his life with no issues, I never thought this could happen to her.



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Old 31st May 2019   #7
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Default Re: Floating axolotl, swollen cloaca

Wow I was going to say, looks like a male! Is it eating at all? Do you notice anything coming out of the cloaca (clear, white, red)? If you see any pink/clear flesh it could be a prolapse and needs vet treatment.



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Old 2nd June 2019   #8
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Default Re: Floating axolotl, swollen cloaca

Oh I am so sorry that she's not doing well. The best thing to do is just keep her in cool clean water. The rest is up to her. If you have an aquarium thermometer you can pop that in her tub to monitor the temps. If you can I would have her in 10-15 degree water. Hopefully she just has some gas in her she needs to pass. Let me know how it goes.



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Old 7th June 2019   #9
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Default Re: Floating axolotl, swollen cloaca

Unfortunately, Mozu passed away late last Thursday night. I think the stress of it all was just too much. Thank you for your thoughts. Gonna keep a close eye on our other axolotl, with the sand removed from the tank and weekly water changes rather than monthly. He's eight and never been as much of a gulper, so hopefully shouldn't have any issues with him.



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Old 11th June 2019   #10
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Default Re: Floating axolotl, swollen cloaca

Very sorry for your loss, best of luck with your other one <3



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