Home > Ask Our Experts > What Cures Are Available for Axolotls?

What Cures Are Available for Axolotls?

By: Dr Gareth Evans - Updated: 5 Oct 2014 | comments*Discuss
 
Axolotl Disease Red Leg Septicaemia

Q.

A real hurdle for a number of axolotl keepers seems to be how to treat them. There are a few different types of illness out there but no apparent guidelines on the types of medicine to administer.

Fish have a number of treatments readily available but where are the cures for the poor old axolotls?? Red Leg seems to be the most common, could details of the cure be available? Starting from what to do at the early stages progressing to the more severe

(Miss Nad Davies, 22 December 2008)

A.

Right from the outset, I feel there are three major headline-points that need to be made, which I’ll try to elaborate on later.

  • Although there are undoubtedly some diseases that do affect them from time to time, axolotls kept under good conditions are generally fairly healthy animals.
  • A number of commonly available fish medications can be toxic to axolotls and other species of amphibians – so unless you really know what you’re doing be very, very careful before you try to treat your own animals.
  • Getting some professional veterinary advice is always the best course of action with any illness in exotic pets – and axolotls are no exception.
Environmental Stress is one of the major influences which predisposes axolotls to disease – and when illness does develop, it is often as a result of some environmental factor within the animal’s tank not being quite as it should. Axolotls tend to tolerate excessive water movement rather poorly, but at the same time, they are equally intolerant of poor water quality, so a balance needs to be struck between achieving adequate filtration without producing too strong a current.

One solution is to avoid filtration altogether and use frequent water changes, but this too can prove problematic, since sudden temperature changes and chlorinated water can themselves prove significant stressors.

Red Leg and Other Bacterial Conditions

As you quite rightly say, red leg – a form of bacterial septicaemia – is one of the most common diseases to affect these amphibians, caused by the bacterium Aeromonas hydrophila and its relatives. A number of other bacteria have also been known to cause problems for axolotls including Acinetobacter, Alcaligenes, Mima and Pseudomonas.

There are some documented cases in the veterinary and scientific literature of the successful use of antibiotics – generally aminoglycosides, such as amikacin or gentamicin – to treat red leg and similar illnesses in axolotls.

Treatment

Obviously the diagnosis, dispensing and injection of any antibiotic treatment is something which belongs in the expert hands of a fully-trained vet – so what should the owner do with an axolotl that looks unwell?

If the animal is in a community tank, isolate it as swiftly as you can; alternatively, if it lives alone, a thorough, careful water change is probably a good idea. Some axolotl owners swear by keeping their pets a few degrees cooler – being careful to lower the temperature gently, to avoid shock – as an aid to recovery.

However, as you correctly point out, there aren’t many off-the-shelf cures for the “poor old axolotl” – so probably the single most important thing any owner can do is get some professional advice as soon as possible. In the long run, unless you’re an expert in amphibian diseases, it’s almost certain to work out far better for the animal than trying to diagnose and treat it yourself.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Hi I have a question about an axolotl. An axolotl was brought into the Aquatics shop where I work, he was a large black axolotl covered in fungus so we quarantined him and treated him for the fungus. After he was better it was decided to move him back into his tank in the shop. A large fine mesh net was used to capture him and transfer him to his tank but upon letting him free into his tank it was noted that a white bulge was trailing from his chest area between his two front legs. After a while, blood appeared and it was deduced his chest had split open. I would appreciate any information you have on what could have caused this as it was put down to a possible endoparasite. There was no problem when using the net to place him into his quarantined tank so it's a really confusing issue. Thank you LiZ
Liz - 5-Oct-14 @ 7:55 PM
Hi, I've applied for a volunteer position at the vivarium at the Manchester Museum that is part of my university, but it is very oversubscribed and so along with plenty of pestering the currator, I would like to read up on caring for lizards and amphibians to give me an advantage (especially as at current I don't know very much). Can you recommend a good book to read that will give me a good overall knowledge of caring for lizards/amphibians? Cheers!
Tamara - 20-May-11 @ 5:24 PM
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice...
Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • Doesn'tMatter
    Re: Vivarium, Terrarium or Aquarium; What's the difference?
    There's actually a big difference in the materials used to make aquariums and terrariums.You…
    27 February 2017
  • Nikos
    Re: Keeping Marine Worms
    Hello all I would like to build a tank for preserving and breeding sea worms for decoration and fishing purposes. Please be kind enough to…
    25 February 2017
  • Len
    Re: Keeping Butterfly Lizards and Plated Lizards
    Hi trying to locate a book for my grandson on the plated lizards for xmas any ideas Thanks
    12 December 2016
  • Vincey Animal
    Re: Keeping Snails as Pets
    Are snails the best pet?I mean I like every animal but I'm not sure if a snail is going to be the best pet ever.
    29 May 2016
  • Tracy
    Re: Caring for Crabs
    I am a bioscience student about to catch (eriocheir sinensis) Chinese mitten crabs for study in Kent. They are a growing problem! I am intending…
    25 May 2016
  • Andy
    Re: Keeping Vinegarones (Whip-Scorpions)
    Are there any books about whip scorpions or rhinestones I can get so I can see how one is kept and find out how much it…
    17 February 2016
  • Stephen
    Re: Vivarium, Terrarium or Aquarium; What's the difference?
    Pictures of each type may have been useful.
    23 December 2015
  • joeiguana
    Re: Iguanas as Pets
    Hi there I have built a more than appropriate Viv for my female green iguana. I keep koi in the very large pond below her canopy. Will the fish…
    23 November 2015
  • Jewelly
    Re: Caring for Newts
    Hi there. So I have a small fire belly newt. We had it in a 55 gallon tank with a few angel fish, a red tailed shark and a spotted puffer fish. We…
    21 July 2015
  • eeyore
    Re: Caring for Crabs
    Hello and thank you for the information you have shared. No matter how much I try to find out about Rainbow crabs its never enough, not much…
    20 May 2015
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the KeepingExoticPets website. Please read our Disclaimer.