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


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Old 22nd July 2009   #1
Angie
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Exclamation Vets! Please help! we think axolotl swallowed gravel!



Our male seemes to have swallowed a gravel rock. Rayson, if you are reading this, we did extract the gravel as you advised in an earlier thread. I noticed our male has not been eating for several days now. We feed them a Nightcrawler each a day generally, but last 3-4 days he has refused the worms or rather was giving up on them after he had a bit in. I thought he was just being fussy at first, so I cut the worms in smaller parts (i think he are 1 or 2 during the period, but not sure if he spat them out later). When other half was feeding them, I noticed that the male sank to the bottom suspicously fast... Examination revealed the abdomen area looked fuller than normal and it looked like rectoral region (supposedly) contained a firm body. As discussed our gravel size was 12mm and we are scared it has swallowed a rock of smaller size, by the looks and feel of it ( see pictures below). His cloacal region is not swollen.

He struggles to swim up to the surface ( he has to make alot of effort to do that). Please advise... We are worried sick. Didn't sleep most of last night (removed gravel, cleaned tank of any waste accumulated in the gravel).

Curious among Sad: Since we removed gravel last night, He has been pushing the female around alot ( yeah, courting at the time when he's got a rock inside...). We noticed some things that looked like spermtaphores.

Please advise as to what were have on our hands here.. what to do and if there is a way to determine if it could possibly be a rock or he is just struggling to get rid of some hard waste?? We did not fridge him yet, as were scared it may be in the animals stomack and be too beg for it's bowels and could cause damage.

We are upset and we called the vets in Victoria on the list that we looked up on Caudata (every one of them is not immediately available,- holidays or away).

We'll be watching the thread closely for your advice...


Thanks for your assistance in advance,
Angie



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Old 22nd July 2009   #2
Phil
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Default Re: Vets! Please help! we think axolotl swallowed gravel!

I'm not a vet, but the general advice i've seen is to fridge the axolotl. Below is a very helpful article on the process.

http://www.caudata.org/axolotl-sanctuary/Fridging.shtml

I'm sure you you'll get plenty of great help from everyone else.



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Old 22nd July 2009   #3
Angie
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Exclamation Re: Vets! Please help! we think axolotl swallowed gravel!

Here are some pictures...

I think by the time Rayson recommended removing the gravel, he already lost his appetite..

Can we do anything? Let us kow if u need more pictures. We are thinking of shining a small torch through his belly to see if we can make up a shape of a rock..
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Old 22nd July 2009   #4
Angie
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Exclamation Re: Vets! Please help! we think axolotl swallowed gravel!

Just to let you know, we X-rayed the animal at our local Vet clinic: He had 2 stones in his stomack.....

He looked exhausted after they took them out through his mouth using a small surgical forcepts (and pushing the stones out gently at the same time). He was red on the sides, but returned to normal color within 5-10 minutes... The anasthetic used was Alfaxan (2 ml in a smallish tub of water).

We are going to fridge him as recommended.

See if we can post a copy of X-Ray. The job ended up costing $170 all included (which is not bad probably).

We'll see how Sovereign goes... I just wish we never bought that god damn gravel ... Hundreds spent and an animal injured.

P.S.:

Note to Modererators & all Axolotl owners:

We noticed that in our Axolotl gallery there are people using graven 2mm and up.
PLEASE get rid of it!!! It DOES present a big DANGER....


Angie

Looking at our Gallery, we noticed



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Old 22nd July 2009   #5
Rayson
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Default Re: Vets! Please help! we think axolotl swallowed gravel!

Hi Angie,

Im glad you brought the axie to a vet. Im also very relieved that the impacted material were removed. I would have done exactly the same as your local vets. I normally use alfaxan CD as well, it has one of the highest therapeutic index and safety margin.

I guess this is a learning curve. By removing the gravel the first time round, i feel appreciated that you heeded my advice.

Fridging is a very good recuperative tool. Fridge your axie for 3 weeks. That would help with its recovery.

On another note, since your axie just recovered from an impaction (and extraction), there will be a certain extent of gut mucosal damage. (Imagine a rock being dragged through intestines) As such, the axie will be vulnerable to bacterial infection within the gut (which can lead to bloat). It is imperative that you ensure good water parameters (daily 100% water changes while being fridged) to reduce the chances.

Offer fine slivers or tiny pieces of food that is easily digestible. An injured gut (plus fridging) will slow down digestion. I recommend live blackworms and very tiny pieces of shrimp. Through trial and error, i find these 2 food types most readily accepted by sick axies in the fridge. They just seem to stimulate appetite better. I always recommend live blackworms for sick axies to clients and vet students as a 'healing food'.

Cheers.



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Old 23rd July 2009   #6
Angie
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Red face Re: Vets! Please help! we think axolotl swallowed gravel!

My Appologies for taking so long to answer,

This week just got so out of hand...! We had a lot to deal with: an axolotl that swallowed gravel, job interviews, indoor cats (somehow) getting flees, and one of the cats deciding to go for a swim, in a four foot aquarium as we accidently left the lid of it open during the stressful time..... After realising it was a mistake, the cat tried to pull itself out of the tank by grabbing hold of one of the long tank lights, which naturally broke and scattered glass all over the tank......... The second axolotl seems unharmed. We'll keep a close eye on her.

Glad to say Sovereign seems happy in the fridge. His tummy looked like a rubber baloon with no air in it after the extraction, then shortly after it bloated up to normal size but the axolotl was floating. I put him in just enough water so as to cover him, but let his feet touch the bottom (as recommended on the website when treating floating). As per your advice, we purchased some blackworms this morning.

We are trying to find the right sand to line the tank with, but nobody has the safe types for axies... Are you aware of any suppliers that can help?

We did find a 2mm crushed Black Quarz substrate, but looking at the sharpish edges of the little stones made me uneasy about buying it...

**exhausted by worrying**
Angie
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Old 23rd July 2009   #7
Rayson
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Default Re: Vets! Please help! we think axolotl swallowed gravel!

I love the radiograph you attached. The mineralised component (impaction) shows up very clearly within the gut of the axie. Another interesting thing to note is that axie has a cartilaginous type skeletal structure as opposed to bony skeletion. The skeletion appears less 'white' compared to the stones. Bony skeletion tend to have a similar 'whiteness' (radioopaque).

You can go to the aquarium shop and ask for freshwater aquarium sand. It should not be too hard to find.

On another note, if you want advice on flea treatments, you can private message me any questions. I will gladly answer any pet/vet care concerns. I will answer your questions privately. its not fair to go into that on an amphibian forum.

Cheers.



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Old 23rd July 2009   #8
Angie
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Red face Re: Vets! Please help! we think axolotl swallowed gravel!

Yes, indeed it's fasciniating! I love X-Rays
Our axie is now the "Patient of the Month" lol

They are also so tender, yet such strong animals at the same time.

And they win you over with their friendly personality. Ours spend hours staring at their reflection, swimming against the filter current, cruising along the bubble wall and staring at you when their lights are off and you are on your computer. Spooky actually..lol

Thanks for the flea advice offer! Will message should our means not work.

:)



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Old 24th July 2009   #9
Kaysie
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Default Re: Vets! Please help! we think axolotl swallowed gravel!

I do hope this X-ray shows up in other places (like Axolotl Sanctuary). It's a great illustration of how big an object axolotls can swallow!

Glad to hear everything is turning out for the best for your little guy.



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Old 24th July 2009   #10
Angie
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Default Re: Vets! Please help! we think axolotl swallowed gravel!

Thanks Kaysie,

Yes, Mr. Guts is only allowed small bloodworms. This morning I have seen him eat one before me, so I hope he is on the way to normal self. It was thanks to Raysons alert that we looked into the issue with promptness, I can't thank him enough.

It got me thinking on how much the little monster means to me... We were so worried... I would not wish that sort of thing happening to anyone.

Do I post the X-Ray on the Sanctuary (wonder where that would be) or will one of you Moderators do that?

Let me know.

Thanks,
Angie



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Old 24th July 2009   #11
Rayson
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Default Re: Vets! Please help! we think axolotl swallowed gravel!

Hi Angie,

This is the Ax Sanc Link.

http://www.caudata.org/axolotl-sanctuary/index.shtml

Could you email me the image of the radiograph? I will use it in the near future for either a new vet article or use it to adorn the existing pages on Ax Sanc.

Cheers.



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Old 26th July 2009   #12
Angie
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Arrow Re: Vets! Please help! we think axolotl swallowed gravel!

Sorry, Rayson, forgot to ask:

After the extraction, how soon is the animal supposed to start eating in the fridge? It has been 4.5 days since the procedure, and Sovereign still doesn't seem keen on blackworms. He does not seem weak, althought his gills aren't as bright of color anymore (tips are slightly paler). We change the water every day and the worms sit in the fridge at the same 7 degrees Celsius, and we do 70% waterchage on worms daily. Looks like the bloating reduced somewhat.

I am just scared of him being undernourished at the stage... Should I try to force feed him some worms (very very gently). I have experience in nursing sick & newborn animals (mammals & small birds), it's just that none had to be fridged... This makes it over a week as he had any reasonable meal...

What is it best to do?


Angie



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Old 26th July 2009   #13
Rayson
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Default Re: Vets! Please help! we think axolotl swallowed gravel!

Hi Angie,

While fridged, an axie can safely go without food for 2 months. I would not recommend you force feed the axie. Let it recuperate. The live blackworms can survive for quite a long time in the water so its quite safe to leave it overnight with your axie until the next water change. You can still use the worms as long as they are live and fresh.

Cheers.



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Old 26th July 2009   #14
Angie
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Thumbs up Re: Vets! Please help! we think axolotl swallowed gravel!

Impressive! Up to two months..! Amazing animals...

Thanks, we were worried about him, but you relieved our fears.

I hope you got my e-mail. I want to start a campaign on ensuring that these little guys are not mistreated by petshops (we noticed they are kept in tropical temperatures & with various size gravel) as well as by axilotl owners who are not aware of their requirements. I need vets to approve the information I issie to public (will base it on & credit it to Caudata mainly).

Getting our pets was an eye opener.

Thanks,
Angie



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Old 6th August 2009   #15
Angie
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Post Re: Vets! Please help! we think axolotl swallowed gravel!

Update:

Sovereign appears in local news (Geelong Advertiser, 4th August 2009)!
So far, he is eating little, but isn't as bloated anymore.

Now we not another fact: axolotls don't like flashing cameras :)
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Old 6th August 2009   #16
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Im suprised it didn't go to national news!!!


Glad he made it through, good luck with the cats.



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Old 6th August 2009   #17
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Default Re: Vets! Please help! we think axolotl swallowed gravel!

I am so pleased that he pulled through and is doing so well, I am also pleased that his story made the paper as to help educate people about what is safe for axies tanks, as we all are aware that most pet shops housing and selling axies have them in tanks with gravel and rocks, therefore when you purchace one this is what you believe and are most likely told is the right set up,
wishing you all the best with you little super star.
Cathy

P.S I love the x-ray, it is really amazing how it shows the big rocks in his little tummy.



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Old 6th August 2009   #18
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Default Re: Vets! Please help! we think axolotl swallowed gravel!

I am happy that things worked out for you and your Axie. But I don't understand why people still ignore the #1 rule about keeping axies which is NO GRAVEL or Stones smaller that their heads. They willl eat them and get sick!!!!! Why do people ignore the repeated warnings about this found everywhere on this web site?



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Old 6th August 2009   #19
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Default Re: Vets! Please help! we think axolotl swallowed gravel!

I used to keep them with aquarium gravel years back its more about people in pets stores and aquariums not giving a **** and not telling people these things, or else I wouldn't have if I knew.



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Old 6th August 2009   #20
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Default Re: Vets! Please help! we think axolotl swallowed gravel!

Nice article Angie and your super model Axolotl.



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