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Old 22nd April 2007   #1
karen
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It's very odd, when I took my newt to the vet and he asked some questions, I got TOTALLY conflicting information than I've been following.

I'm not quite a novice and I've been an avid reader/learner here on caudata.org.

Some examples....
1. Vet asked what temps I keep the tank, I said between 60 and 65 F, he said that was too low, keep it at 70 F.
2. Asked how often I clean the tank, I said as little as possible (don't want to mess with the cycling process and good bacteria), he said I should clean it well about every 2 weeks!!

Very odd!! What to believe? Here I though I was doing everything right, and maybe I'm the cause of my newt's illness?

Anyone else ever get conflicting info from a vet?



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Old 22nd April 2007   #2
ian
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What newt are you keeping?
alwaying keeping a Chinese Fire Belly at 60 might not be the most ideal. I would say 66- 72 is the best for CFB. The temperature range only depends on species. Although Newt mostly prefer chill than heat. But an a prolonged period that is too cold for the newt will still post problem.

As for water change, every two weeks for me is very long time already. I clean it every week with half water change. Changing water does not affect the cycling. Cause the important cycling bacteria live on the surface area in the tank, no in the water. The chemical in the water are just food for the bateria and their by product. As soon as the cycle is set up with a healthy bacteria colony, change more water and more frequently is always best, cause that remove the last final poison by product that the cycling bacteria (nitrifying bacteria) cannot remove.



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Old 22nd April 2007   #3
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I personally have had little problems with my C. orientalis at the temperatures you've stated and lower. I don't think I would worry about raising them. It's not a typical newt problem at all!

As for cleaning, if he means breaking down and scrubbing, he is totally wrong. If he means doing a partial water change he is right. Partial water changes without gravel siphoning can still be done during the cycle without disturbing the bacteria much if at all. It also keeps metabolic wastes from building up and hurting the newt.



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Old 22nd April 2007   #4
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No, he meant COMPLETE cleaning, with scrubbing and BLEACH and all! I told him I did partial water changes, but he told me if anything bad is growing in the tank I won't see it necessarily.

Also, I keep eastern newts, so I think 70 F should be their MAX TEMP. But anyway, say a prayer for my newt's recovery!!



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Old 22nd April 2007   #5
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Karen, most vets, as educated as they are, work mostly with cats and dogs. Even 'exotics' vets rarely see amphibians. Therefore, some of them have no or little basic info on the care of something as specialized as caudates.

As a general rule, with caudates: the cooler the better. But you're right in not totally dismantling the tank for cleaning. Having a proper biofilter is important. By tearing down the tank every 2 weeks, you would have no way to naturally control the bioload in your tank. But you must keep the substrate cleaned and keep the tank clear of debris, as you would of any animal.

Out of curiosity, what illness did you suspect in order to take the animal to the vet?

Edit: I read the other thread. Does he know that male easterns tend to have thicker back legs (helps with amplexus)? I don't think those signs sound like a calcium deficiency.


(Message edited by Joan on April 22, 2007)



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Old 22nd April 2007   #6
ian
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Karen...Kaysie is right ,if i go to the vet he asks me what i think and then he will go along with it,
all he has to do is write the prescription..just one other point, when you clean the tank and, or, do a water change always use de-chlorinated water as it will affect the filter if you don't..ian



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Old 22nd April 2007   #7
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I have good results in all my tanks with as little water changes as possible. It depends on feeding. For example, I have a 2.5 gallon that I keep 2 whiteclouds and moss in, and I never change any water out of it, mabye half of it once every month or two, but the catch is I never feed them more then a few peices of brine shrimp.

The whole idea behind cycling is the ammonnia is so quickly converted it should never build up to a noticeable level. It takes a few years of testing diffrent volumes and bio-loads to figure out what works, but all my tanks get almost no maintenence and all have very healthy animals.

I like to think of pond water chemistry, and the stability of that. I have to say however, that if a newt is sick, I would have it set up in a tank with as little substrate as possible and change out 50 percent water with aged water every 3-4 days, and not even worry about it cycling.



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Old 23rd April 2007   #8
Michael Shrom
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You will have a tough time finding a vet that does good work with amphibians. When I take an animal to a vet it is usually for a fecal or some meds I can't get. I know more about amphibians than my vet and we work together. I would say it's a rare exception to find a vet or pet store person that is at good with salamanders as many of the participants on this board. One problem is some beginners on this board are so enthusiastic that they offer advice when they do not have expertise. After awhile you will figure out what advice to take and what is safe to try. My guess is with most salamanders commonly kept they are rarely kept to cold.



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Old 23rd April 2007   #9
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I would recommend investing in a copy of Amphibian Medicine and Husbandry. It's pretty much the bible of amphib medicine, written by amphib vets. They recommend a cleaning procedure like what the others above have recommended; let the good bacteria live, unless you have reason to suspect an infection.

The other point they make, that most vets would be unaware of, is that treatment with cold is an effective remedy for caudates. Thus, lowering the temp for a sick animal is recommended.



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Old 7th May 2007   #10
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The other point they make, that most vets would be unaware of, is that treatment with cold is an effective remedy for caudates. Thus, lowering the temp for a sick animal is recommended.
Hello,

I've been reading the all the advice about cooling on this site, and I wondered whether you can give any references of scientific reports validating the therapeutic use of cooling? I am aware of one report where cooling was used as an adjunct treatment in amphibians (Maruska 1994, reported in Wright & Whitaker's book), but no others despite some searching.

I'm aware that there seems to be a lot of anecdotal support for it's usefulness, but I wondered if there was more scientific reports I've missed.

Cheers.



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Old 7th May 2007   #11
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If you have access to scientific literature searching, I am sure there must be papers mentioning this out there. You are right that most of what we have seen is anecdotal but many of these anecdotes come from professionals working in science with axolotls. I want to say there's something about it in this text:

Various contributors, edited by John B. Armstrong and George M. Malacinski, "Developmental Biology of the Axolotl", 1989, Oxford University Press.

but unfortunately my copy is in Europe and I am not so I can't check .



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Old 7th May 2007   #12
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You might try contacting this user: http://www.caudata.com/forum/member.php?u=2148). She is an academic working in developmental biology with axolotls (and I believe other salamanders too).



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Old 7th May 2007   #13
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Hi John,

Thanks for your reply. I have used various scientific searches and been unable to find anything, but I'll follow those up.

Cheers.



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Old 11th May 2007   #14
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I'd appreciate any additional info you find, Bruce. I just went back and re-read the Wright & Whitaker book on the subject of temperature. Indeed, there is only one actual study they cite that has mentioned cold as an adjunct therapy (in axolotls). The book also mentions warmer temps as being beneficial in certain cases, including fungal infections. I may have overstated their advocacy of cold as a treatment. Here is a quote:

"A general guideline for therapeutic cooling is that temperate and tropical montane species can be cooled to 8-10C (46-50F) and tropical lowland and subtropical species can be cooled to 15-18C (60-64F). Cooling can be considered for the obviously septic amphibian as an adjuct therapy while antibiotics distribute through the body."

Although refrigeration is a common therapy for axolotls, it looks like there haven't been any systematic studies. It's not easy to find studies that actually look at the most basic husbandry and treatment issues.

I did find one additional study mentioned in a 1980 IU Axolotl Newsletter:
Boyer et al. Lab. Anim. Sci. 21(3): 372-375, 1971.
They overcame an outbreak of Aeromonas hydrophila. "Effective control was accomplished by improved husbandry, refrigeration of some animals, and temporary suspension of surgical procedures."

Refrigeration of laboratory axolotls as a therapy has clearly been in use for a long time.



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Old 11th May 2007   #15
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I must admit my initial reaction to the recommendation (of cooling) was surprise. The bulk of evidence and recommendation for most species favours warming if anything (e.g. elevated temperatures alone has been shown to clear the chytrid fungus in treefrogs, and elevated environmental temperatures are recommended for minor respiratory problems in reptiles (and I have seen that alone work in many cases). The theory is that it is a "behavioural fever". Having said that, anecdotally I have quite a few clients report that ill snakes in particular seem to seek out cooler parts of the enclosure. So much we don't know!

I can see that cooling may slow down pathogen multiplication more than the host's immune response, or failing that to give time for antimicrobials to work. I must admit that I am concerned about possible toxicity though. Given that antimicrobial metabolism is affected by the target animal's temperatures, the risk of toxicity would be much enhanced, and reduced doses should almost certainly be used. Theoretically we should have a dose for every given temperature as well as species and size of animal, but that information just isn't available. Half-life of drugs in fish can definitely vary dramatically with temperature, and presumably the same is true of amphibians.

My current recommendation, where possible is to give the animal a slightly expanded (both wamer and cooler extremes) than their usual temperature range, and allow them to choose. However, this is often difficult to achieve in practice for most people.

Difficult to do in aquatic species like axolotls, but have you tried offering fridge type temps to ill amphibans as an option rather than forced, to see whether they will choose them?



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Old 11th May 2007   #16
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So much we don't know!

I can see that cooling may slow down pathogen multiplication more than the host's immune response, or failing that to give time for antimicrobials to work. I must admit that I am concerned about possible toxicity though. Given that antimicrobial metabolism is affected by the target animal's temperatures, the risk of toxicity would be much enhanced, and reduced doses should almost certainly be used. Theoretically we should have a dose for every given temperature as well as species and size of animal, but that information just isn't available. Half-life of drugs in fish can definitely vary dramatically with temperature, and presumably the same is true of amphibians.
To your point, there is much we do not know with regards to dosing drugs in amphibians. Certainly temperatures impact metabolic fate due to slowing of the animal's metabolic pathways, but to what degree is an unknown. To further confound this, we have no idea of the pharmacokinetic profile of antimicrobials in normal amphibians let alone in diseased animals. Baytril for example is a fairly commonly used treatment due to its broad spectrum of activity. We know that fluoroquinolones are excreted by renal and non-renal mechanisms in dogs, cats and humans and that metabolites are formed during hepatic transformation that can posses antimicrobic activity equal to the parent compound...with varing elimintation half-lives. Is this metabolic fate shared by amphibians? As well, renal elimination is an important pathway presumedly shared by amphibians (but to what degree?) and dosing would need to be decreased in treating animals with presumed renal dysfunction...but by how much? As you suggest, we have very little data regarding proper dosing in amphibians to provide efficacy while avoiding toxicity.



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Old 11th May 2007   #17
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Bruce, chytrid's a special case, as it thrives at low temperatures.



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Old 11th May 2007   #18
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Bruce, chytrid's a special case, as it thrives at low temperatures.
I would argue that all microbes have preferred temperature ranges? Chytrid may be more obvious than many, but all will be affected by temperature to a greater or lesser extent, tipping the balance for or against the host's immune system defences.

In relation to cooling, for example, cooling would presumably be less effective against listeria due to it's wide acceptable temperature range for growth?



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Old 12th May 2007   #19
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Interesting discussion. In general, wouldn’t we agree that most pathogenic bacteria are mesophiles with optimum growth temperatures around 37°C? If so, one could speculate that reduced temps would slow microbial replication and reduced temps, in general, do not harm newts and salamanders. Without scientific study, the practice of cooling has commonly been used by keepers with anecdotal positive results.



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Old 12th May 2007   #20
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Jan, I would say that the 37C optimum would be true in humans, but I would think the pathogens that attack poikilothermic animals are more apt to survive at a higher range of temperatures. But they would only be pathogenic in the animal's natural range of temperatures. Refrigeration is not necessarily beneficial to the animal, but harmful to the pathogen, by taking it out of that natural range. So refrigeration of caudates is indeed a nonharmful and effective way of reducing most pathogens. But then you have the pathogens that DO thrive at cooler temperatures, such as chytrid fungus.



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