Skeletal problems in S. s. longirostris

tdimler

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I started with a group of 11 CB 2008 S. s. longirostris. Today there are 6. Two have been lost for unknown reasons, and three lost to skeletal problems. I have always heard that longirostris are prone to skeletal problems but I have now seen it first hand. These salamanders have been raised on almost exclusively earthworms and I provide calcium supplementation via "Repcal" every second or third feeding although recently I started using calcium more often. Of the remaining six, there are 5 that appear perfect and one is developing a spinal kink. Interestingly enough, it seems that a kink can crop up almost overnight. I pay close attention to my animals and a seemingly perfect animal can develop a visible deformity in a week. The animal in the photo not only had the most severe skeletal problems but it was a dwarf and never grew. I finally had to euthanize it. Does anybody have experience with longirostris or any clue as to why they are so delicate from a skeletal perspective?

Travis
 

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tdimler

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WOW....what an overwhelming response to this thread!
 

Artur

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It is adult? Right? So, I think this is fracture of the middle of columna vertebralis(lat. sorry, don't know english version)
 

Azhael

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There is no way that is a fracture.

If there haven´t been any responses is because:
a)S.s.longirostris is very rare in the hobby (thankfully, they haven´t been poached as much as other subspecies).
b) skeletal problems are rather common, but for the most part nobody knows why they happen unless it´s a direct consequence of metabolic bone disease.

I´ve had a very similar experience with T.marmoratus and i have to say i have no idea why it happened. It was suggested that cancer was a possibility....and i have none better.
 

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Hi Travis

Shame this has happened to such lovely animals.

I am shortly getting my longirostris, and have been advised of the problems you have had.

I was advised to grow them on slowly and feed all or at least every other feeding with limestone flour, and that should help.

Good luck with the remaining ones

Ben
 

beefsteak

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Interestingly enough I got 4 Gallaica from you Travis Dimler and 2 died from this very same skeletal deformity, the remaining 2 have permanently bent arms and one of them seem to have an unusually long neck.
It does seem to happen very fast.
They get plenty of supplements and are fed the same as my other salamanders.
I have never seen this before and don't blame you in any way but thought I would let you know.
 

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Inbreeding seems a likely culprit to me, not true MBD.
 

tdimler

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Perhaps inbreeding is a possibility, but I have heard that inbred caudates up to f5 show no ill symptoms of inbreeding, though I have seen no scientific documentation of this. Longirostris are known for skeletal problems and I have never seen a single skeletal problem in ANY of my other forms of salamandra. This is not to my credit but simply an observation. Since I posted the original thread, another of the biggest, healthiest longirostris was found laying upside-down in the throes of death....and had a very dry skin. I removed the almost dead animal and put it in a small container by itself, and it seemed to recover but then got bloated! These are strange and delicate animals indeed.

Travis
 

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Inbreeding is not something that can be generalised. My guess is that in this subspecies it's having a more tangible effect due to some quirk of their genetics.
 

tdimler

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Interestingly enough I got 4 Gallaica from you Travis Dimler and 2 died from this very same skeletal deformity, the remaining 2 have permanently bent arms and one of them seem to have an unusually long neck.
It does seem to happen very fast.
They get plenty of supplements and are fed the same as my other salamanders.
I have never seen this before and don't blame you in any way but thought I would let you know.

Weird, I've raised hundreds of gallaica youngsters at this point and have never seen any skeletal problems. I do have an idea though. I got a group of terrestris a couple years ago and accidentally overfed them. The result was many of the animals dying. The surviving ones seemed to show no ill effects, until all of them developed an overshot bottom jaw. I first thought this must be genetic, but when I consulted a friend who has animals from the same batch and none of his had the jaw problem, the light came on that this might stem back to the over-feeding debacle. I surmise that the animals had the equivalent of "founder" which triggered some skeletal problems. Perhaps some feeding event caused the skeletal problems in your gallaica. Not that it was your fault, or that you would have even noticed it at the time. They could have just gotten a bad batch of food. It's just an idea.....

Travis
 

tdimler

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Inbreeding is not something that can be generalised. My guess is that in this subspecies it's having a more tangible effect due to some quirk of their genetics.

Very possible and very frustrating.
 

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I have been giving serious thought to over supplimentation of calcium, as that can give much the same effect as under supplimentation.
I give mine exclusively limestone flour and no commercial vitamins, and i give it once a fortnight on youngsters and once a months for sub adults/ adults, i know its a bit hit and miss on this and i have no scientific proof, but thus far its worked on my algira tingitana which have the same traits as longirostris.

Just a thought!!
 

Steve Roman

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I have been giving serious thought to over supplimentation of calcium, as that can give much the same effect as under supplimentation.
I give mine exclusively limestone flour and no commercial vitamins, and i give it once a fortnight on youngsters and once a months for sub adults/ adults, i know its a bit hit and miss on this and i have no scientific proof, but thus far its worked on my algira tingitana which have the same traits as longirostris.

Just a thought!!

I have seen the hyper-extended lower jaw phenomenon in lizards that were over feed mineral (calcium) supplements with vitamins.
 

benw

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Yes i have seen that too,Steve.
OD on the calcium could indeed be a serious consideration
 

sergé

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Nothing to do with inbreeding; pure skeletal problems like in reptiles. Especially all southern forms of Salamandra (longirostris, infraimmaculata, algira) have shown these problems in captivity. With these extreme cases there is no cure. I have raised these species together with gallaica (which were clearly less vulnerable to this).

It all comes down to calcium supplements if you can not feed them the wide variety of natural food they needs (including snails complete with houses, and calcium rich earth worms, so not the ones you buy in the store). Or dust every food item with a lot of calcium; I dust every cricket with Korvimin from the beginning just after metamorphosis.

A second problem that goes along with it is that they are kept to warm and grow consequently too quickly.

Sadly calcium deficiencies occur much more then we might think, and in aquatic species this is camouflaged by the fact that the water carries the weight, but with land living species this is what it turns out like.
 

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Any evidence to back this up, Sergé? By your logic, all terrestrial salamandra should suffer this way and by most accounts they don't.
 

benw

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The forms that Serge has listed all come from high limestone( calcium) areas, which i interpret as the prey items having ingested calcium themselves, also they areas are reasonably hot by salamandra standards and only have a small window of feeding/growing throughout the season, and therefore grow slower than many of the more familiar forms we grow, this coupled with the natural balanced diet of prey items means a negligible chance of deformity in the wild.

I feed the mentioned forms less than the others because they do appear to get growth spurts which can increase the risk of skeletal deformities even with calcium supplements.

Ben
 

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This is quite an old thread but one that is as important today as ever, maybe more so. I'm wondering, given development in our understanding of feed supplements and out experienced of this issue if anyone has anything they might like to add to this. Thank you.
 

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Perhaps inbreeding is a possibility, but I have heard that inbred caudates up to f5 show no ill symptoms of inbreeding, though I have seen no scientific documentation of this. Longirostris are known for skeletal problems and I have never seen a single skeletal problem in ANY of my other forms of salamandra. This is not to my credit but simply an observation. Since I posted the original thread, another of the biggest, healthiest longirostris was found laying upside-down in the throes of death....and had a very dry skin. I removed the almost dead animal and put it in a small container by itself, and it seemed to recover but then got bloated! These are strange and delicate animals indeed.

Travis

It also happens to the algira species if they don't get regular calcium supplements.
 

Blackbun

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Thanks Nat. I wonder why this didn't appear under new lists.
So many of the subspecies live in habitats with limestone bases. Although I use calcium supplements to dust food I'm not convinced this is the best method as it seems to be more than a supplement more like an overdose. Excess Ca in the human diet is harmful. I have been doing the Google Scholar thing trying to find scientific literature.
 
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