Bloat or fat?

Richatops

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Hi, sorry to bother you but I was wondering if anyone could me? I have a male Axolotl which is about 3 to 4 years old now, and as you can see he is very fat or bloated but it only came on over a couple of days. I've stopped feeding him, he used to be on earthworms but went off them and so he was on thin, lean strips of beef. The tank is about 130 litres, I have no tank lights (the plants are fake). The filter is on a very low setting to minimise the current and I do a water change of 40 litres every week, this week 80 litres. The temperature is usually at 17oC but since this happened I've managed to keep it at about 14-15oC. I was just wondering whether he is just fat and constipated or its more serious and he could possibly have bloat. I was recommended trying him with an earthworm again so it might losen him up if he is constipated but he refused to eat it. I've also added a photo of how he looked about a month ago.
Thanks for your time.
 

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CJ1981

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Can you do an ammonia test? His gills look as if they have shrunk.

If he is constipated then putting him in the fridge might help him void his bowels.

If you can I would be tempted to take him to a vet, he does look like he's more than just fat looking at his 'before' pictures - his jaw and throat area appear to have changed shape too.
 

Kaysie

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If it came on suddenly, it's almost certainly bloat.

How long have you been feeding just beef?
 

Richatops

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The ammonia test is negative. I think his gills have shrunk a bit, think it might be having more oxygen in the water, I changed the filter setting a couple of weeks ago, as I believe the get smaller when the oxygen concentration is higher?
Unfortunately there isn't a vet qualified in dealing with Axolotls anywhere near here, there is an exotic pet shop whose owner knows quite a lot about Axolotls who I'm trying to contact.
He used to love erthworms but he stopped eating them for weeks and the only thing he would eat is the beef, usually 1 or 2 small matchstick thin pieces 2 to 3 times a week.
 

Kaysie

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My concern is that it's organ failure induced bloat. Beef is deficient in calcium and high in saturated fat. It's not a suitable diet.

Even a vet who doesn't know anything about axolotls can draw fluid and tell if it's an infection or not.
 

Richatops

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My concern is that it's organ failure induced bloat. Beef is deficient in calcium and high in saturated fat. It's not a suitable diet.

Even a vet who doesn't know anything about axolotls can draw fluid and tell if it's an infection or not.

If that is the case, is there anything that can be done? Would refrigeration help? If it won't help I would rather not stress him out unnecessarily and would prefer he spent what time he has in the tank he knows is his home.
 

Kaysie

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Unfortunately, no. The animal can be maintained better with isotonic solutions and draws of fluid.

Usually organ failure bloat comes on more slowly. Again, I really suggest seeing a vet. If it's an infection, it can be treated with antibiotic baths.
 

jasper408

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There was one member here who fridged and treated with antibiotics, but there's no guarantee it will work, and even less so if done blindly. Salt baths can be performed to alleviate some of the pressure, but they do not absolve the underlying condition. A trip to a vet is key.
 

Richatops

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Thanks for the advice all, I've sent another message to the owner of the exotic pet store that I know, hopefully he knows someone who might be able to help. Unfortunately Axolotls aren't very common in the UK, a couple of years ago I tried finding a nearby vet who could treat them and all the ones I called had never even heard of Axolotls before. I don't want to stress him by taking him out of the tank and driving him miles if the vets won't have a look at him.
 

bellabelloo

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Call your local vet and ask if they will see him as he has suspected bloat, if they are reluctant ask for the nearest exotics vet. Axolotl have become quiet common here now, most vets will have someone who they can refer to for advice. I do not think that your axolotl can be treated at home. Also where about's in the UK are you, maybe one of the other UK members will be able to guide you to a reliable vet.
 
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Richatops

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I'll call around the local vets again tomorrow and see if they can recommend anyone. I live in Lincoln, Lincolnshire.
 

Richatops

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Not been able to get hold off anyone today with any experience with Axolotl's, most places haven't answered at all, sent e-mails and phone calls. He's worse today, not moving very much and seems to lack coordination when he does move or swim. I love the little guy but I really don't know what to do :(
 

CJ1981

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175 Newport Lincoln Lincolnshire LN1 3DZ 01522 800333 01522 800332

Try these guys - they treat exotics. If you explain it is an emergency they prioritise you for a same day appointment.
 

Kaysie

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An isotonic solution is different than a salt bath, which is much more concentrated.

Theoretically, a slightly saltier than isotonic solution will help draw the fluid out of the cells. It's kind of a last-ditch effort. Definitely try the vet CJ recommends.
 

Richatops

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An update on my Axolotl. I placed him in the fridge a couple of days ago and I've been doing daily 100% water changes. The water that he is in has a small amount of aquarium salt added to it, I wasn't sure of the dosage and the water in my area is very hard already. When doing the water changes I noticed white, stringy, slightly fluffly stuff in the water, perhaps a fungus? I am worried at how little he struggles when I handle him, I put him into another tub while I clean the main one, I'm hoping its just that he is just so cold. While the vet that CJ kindly suggested had no experience with Axolotls they did provide me with another vets that do, I spoke to them on the phone, they believe its a build up of either gas or fluid although my Axolotl had no problem staying on the floor of his tank. They suggested giving the fridge a couple of days and then see if I need to take him to see them. They also mentioned perhaps bringing the temperature up to about 11oC, not totally sure why, perhaps to see if he'll accept an earthworm? I'm hoping to not have to take him there, I don't want to stress him out unless I have to and he hasn't travelled since I originally bought him over 3 years ago.
 
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    madcaplaughs: @Paige1warren You need to tub your axolotl and perform 100% daily water changes. Your tank is... +1
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