Really sick Tiger Salamander - HELP!

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default Really sick Tiger Salamander - HELP!

Post by cbfole22 on October 3rd 2010, 12:28 pm

Hello all! This is my first time on the LRE Forum and I am desperately looking for some help or advise. I live in Lexington, KY and have a 75 vivarium (only about a 10 gallon water section - the rest is substrate and tropical plants). It is a JEBO system so all of the filtration is in the top of the tank and it has UVA and UVB lighting systems. It maintains a temperature between 76-80 degrees and a humidity level between 74-80%. The water section has a highly efficient filtration pump that keeps the water clear and conditioned. This houses 3 fire belly toads, 1 firebelly paddletail newt, 1 catfish, and 2 tiger salamanders. I have a 3-4 inch substrate level with mesh, hydroballs, and gravel filtration on the land area. The salamanders love to burrow into the substrate and make tunnels. I also hand feed the Samson and Samantha (the salamanders). I use feeding tongs to give them crickets and they both usually have a HUGE appetite - eating up to 5 crickets a day - they never refuse food! I also leave free range crickets in the tank for the frogs and the newt mainly eats feeder guppies. The newt and the catfish stay in the water and the frogs are usually on the opposite side of the tank so Samson and Samantha have a huge free range of area. They have always gotten along really well and I have never had a problem. A little over 3 weeks ago my larger tiger salamander, Samantha, stopped eating and was just acting "funny". She stopped burrowing at all and just layed on the surface underneath large leaves or even just in the open. When I would turn the lights on in the morning, she would stomp off as if she was angry and hide in the dark. She also has had a major loss of balance. She can barely walk without falling to one side or the other. She also gets stuck on her back and wiggles as if she can't flip back over. She will also go in circles like she is chasing her tail. After 8 days of her not eating and continuing to act more and more off, I took her to see Dr. Blair at Clays Mill Veterinary Clinic. He was the only vet that I had been referred to in Lexington that knew anything about amphibians. He said that the movements she was making and how she was acting meant that it was something neurological and probably came from a viral or bacterial infection or a parasite. He gave me a liquid antibiotic to give to her once a day for 14 days. He also gave me a liquid parasite medication that you give once daily for 5 days then wait two weeks, give for 5 days then wait two weeks.....and continue to do this until she has had 4 rounds of medication. He also advised us to force feed her 2-3 crickets everyday. We put her in a 20 gallon tall quarantine tank with two side heaters, artificial turf, artifical leaves to hide under and a shallow wide water bowl. Today is day 16 since we have been to the vet and there have only been a few minor changes. She has become more dosile and does not circle or act as wild when bothered anymore. We are still having to force feed her crickets daily and she has absolutely no interest in eating. She stays off of her back, but walks completely off balance and falls a lot. A new thing is that she is now shedding her 5th layer of slimy skin. Her stomach turns black and I can literally rub off a thin black slimy layer from her entire body - fingers, tail, all of her. She has obviosuly finished her entire round of antibiotics and she is getting ready to start her second round of parasite medication. Everyone in the 75 gallon is still doing great! We did remove several layers of the substrate and replaced all of the plants when we removed Samantha. Does anyone have ANY idea, thoughts, suggestions, anything????? I am desperate right now and just want her to feel better. Sorry that this post was so long - I just need some good advice!! I called Dr. Blair on Friday, October 1, 2010 and he said that he was going to consult with some colleagues at University of Kentucky and get back to me next week. He also suggested that I post on here. HELP!!


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Join date : 2010-10-03

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Post by Taylor on November 2nd 2010, 9:06 pm

Problem 1. Dont mix these species together. they are all incompatible.

problem 2. Salamanders dont do well in 70-80 degree tanks. lower the temperature under 70.

Problem 3. force feeding never does any good. crickets have hardly any nutrients and the amount of stress the animal recieves isnt worth a cricket. try giving it whole earthworms or wax worms. those two prey items are very nutritional. but remember. force feeding eventually kills.

I made this same mistake a long time ago. I kept a tiger with some firebelly toads and there was a water area with some fish and crabs. it all seemed fine but I had the same problem you had. after 6 years my tiger started to get lazier and his body started shedding real bad, he turned black on the bottom and sides and it peeled off. i came home one day and it looked like it was charred. I believe it was bacterial but i now never mix species and keep aquariums either super sanitary if the animal was purchased or set up natural with plants and dirt from where the animal came from.

Im interested in what happens. please keep me updated. i was devastated when this happened to me and I never found out what happened. the animals with it developed the same symptoms and passed on as well.

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Join date : 2010-02-28
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Post by david.cravens on November 4th 2010, 8:46 pm

Can be bacterial infection, is he having you manually put the parasite and bacterial medicine in via the mouth? Dr. Blair is a good vet and I'm assuming he gave you baytril and panacur. If giving orally I would strongly suggest not doing that as you can wind up hurting them forcing the mouth open, for amphibians the prefered method is mixing baytril with water and soaking them to reduce the stress, whenever I use panacur I get the small diabetic needles and inject the crickets with the dose.

Fire belly toads should never be mixed with any species, they do produce a mild toxin that can be deadly over time to other species. Your temps are too high

Also another good resource for amphibian keepers is Dr. Frye the father of herp medicine I would suggest e-mailing him with symptoms and pics if possible along with what Dr. Blair told you, and what medication you are using see if he has any other ideas or suggestions. His email is

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