People have been pleading to bring axolotls into their homes ever since they quickly became the most beautiful animal on the internet.
But because axolotls aren’t like cats or dogs, what do you do if your new friend gets sick? Even though they are easy to take care of and handle, you still need to be careful when you take them to the vet.
Can I Take My Axolotl To The Vet?
But taking your axolotl to the doctor could be stressful and dangerous, so you should talk to your vet first to make sure the trip is worth it.
Even though a regular doctor might be able to help your axolotl, it is best to find a vet who has special training in exotic animals or is at least very familiar with axolotls.
Taking Your Axolotl to the Vet
Axolotls are usually strong and hardy animals. This might be helpful for people who have never had a pet before, but when axolotls get sick, they can get worse quickly.
So, if you notice something strange about your axolotl, you should first call an exotic pet or specialty veterinarian in your area.
Your axolotl may be able to get help from a regular vet, but you will eventually need to take it to a specialist to get the care it needs.
A vet who specializes in fish and amphibians, for example, will be better able to figure out what’s wrong with your axolotl and give it the right medicine.
But because it can be hard to transport amphibians, you should talk to your expert vet before bringing your axolotl in. If it is decided that you need to bring your pet to the vet, your vet will probably tell you how to get your axolotl there.
Put a plastic bin in a cooler that is the right size. Put ice or frozen water bottles inside the cooler to keep the temperature of the plastic bin stable. Fill the container with cold water and put your axolotl inside to keep it safe during transport.
Symptoms of Health Issues
If you think your axolotl is sick or should see a vet, remember the following:
- Lethargic/slow to respond
- Poor appetite
- Gill degeneration
- Curled gills
- Curled tail tip
- Eye lesions (opacity, bulging eyes)
- Skin lesions (excess mucus, hemorrhaging, excess body heat, tumors, ulcers)
- Frantic swimming
- Taking frequent gulps of air
If any of these things happen to your axolotl, you should call a vet who knows about exotic animals.
Common Axolotl Health Problems
It’s one thing to take your axolotl to the vet, but it’s another thing to know when to do so.
If you notice that your axolotl is acting strangely, it might be sick with one of the following:
New Tank Syndrome
Replace the water and tank filter carefully when you move your axolotl to a new tank.
If the biofilter isn’t working right or hasn’t been run before your new pet arrives, there may be too much ammonia and nitrate in the water.
Before you talk to a vet, make sure that your biofilter is in good shape.
Ammonia buildup is another thing to keep an eye out for. Ammonia builds up in the tank because of the waste, which could be bad for the axolotls. Most likely, your axolotl has ammonia burns if it turns red and its gills fall apart.
Burns from ammonia should be treated as soon as possible because they can make it hard to breathe and cause brain damage.
Bacterial or Viral Infections
It is very important to keep an axolotl tank clean and healthy. If your pet seems tired or isn’t eating as much, this could be a sign that it is sick.
Cleaning your axolotl often can help reduce any infections it might have. But you should be careful when using strong chemicals to clean your pet’s tank.
If you give live fish to an axolotl, it could get parasites. Usually, you shouldn’t give your pet live fish.
Physical Injuries and Abnormalities
It has been shown that when an axolotl gets hurt, its body parts can grow back. When it’s time to mate, males and females in tanks will fight.
If your axolotl loses a limb or gets hurt, you need to take care of it properly (potentially with medical assistance).
Before you try to treat wounds or amputations, you should first talk to your vet. If you hurt your pet, it might not be able to heal and grow back normally.
Even though axolotl transformations don’t happen very often, they can be very upsetting. If your pet does something strange, like grow faster than usual, you should call your vet right away.
Axolotl Information & Care Guide
Axolotl Behavior and Temperament
Even though axolotls are very resistant to small changes in their environment, their bodies are soft and fragile, and their skin is clear. In fact, most of their bodies are made up of cartilage, not bone.
That is, they shouldn’t be touched unless it’s absolutely necessary. If you have to take them out of their tank, use a net with small holes so that none of their body parts get caught.
Once their home is set up right, feeding and cleaning them should only take a few hours a week. The rest of the time, they are a quiet friend in the water.
Axolotls are pretty brave animals that are happy to just walk around their tank while their caretakers watch them. Some of them will come up to the edge of their tanks if they think someone is watching them.
They are not very social, though, so they don’t need to live with other fish. Axolotls shouldn’t be kept with other animals because they might try to eat pet fish, and the fish might bite them.
Adults can be kept together, but keep an eye out for any signs that they might want to eat each other.
An axolotl might grow back a body part that another animal in the tank bit off. But it is still better to avoid this situation completely.
Housing the Axolotl
Axolotls need a tank that holds at least 15 to 20 gallons of water. Make sure the tank has a tight lid, since these animals often try to jump out of their cages. For these completely aquatic species, there is no need for a land area in the tank.
The depth of the water should be a little bit more than your axolotl’s length. But increasing the depth will make the water better and give your animal more room to move.
Keep the tank in a cool, shaded area out of direct sunlight, with the water temperature between 57 and 68 degrees Fahrenheit (14 and 20 degrees Celsius). Don’t let it get hotter than 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Celsius).
Axolotls don’t need a certain kind of light (unlike many reptiles). In fact, people often look for dark places to hide, like a flower pot turned on its side or an aquarium castle.
Some owners like to leave the bottom of the tank bare, but others say the axolotl might get stressed if it can’t get a grip on the smooth bottom.
If gravel is put on the bottom, it must be big enough for the axolotl’s head to fit in. If a person eats fine gravel, it could cause a blockage.
Axolotls can be kept in tap water that has had chlorine and chloramines removed with an aquarium water conditioner. Never use water that has been distilled, and keep the pH between 6.5 and 7.5.
(Most pet stores sell kits that test the water.) Most people find it easier to take care of an aquarium that has a filter, since unfiltered water needs to be changed often to get rid of waste.
If you put a filter on the tank, the rate at which it filters should be slow. Powerful filters that make a lot of current may stress out an axolotl.
If you don’t use a filter, you’ll probably need to change 20% of the water every day or every other day. Don’t change all of the water because it could change the composition of the water in a big way and upset your animal.
Food and Water
In the wild, axolotls eat snails, worms, crustaceans, small fish, and frogs. In captivity, they can eat brine shrimp, tiny pieces of beef or liver, earthworms, bloodworms, tubifex worms, different frozen fish meals, and commercial fish pellets.
You shouldn’t feed worms or fish that you caught yourself because they might have parasites. Most of the time, you don’t need to take vitamin and mineral supplements.
Talk to your vet about how much food to give your axolotl and how often to feed it, since these things depend on its age and size. On average, most people need to eat two to three times a week.
One of the best ways to feed an animal is to use round-nosed forceps to hold the food near the animal in the tank. You can also put the food in the water as close to the axolotl as you can.
If your axolotl doesn’t seem hungry during the day, try feeding it in the evening, when it’s usually more active. To keep the water clean, take out any food that hasn’t been eaten every day.
Common Health Problems
Axolotls are very interesting because of their ability to grow back. If they get hurt but it doesn’t threaten their lives, they may be able to grow back their limbs, tail, and even heart and eye tissue.
This amazing skill does not, however, protect people from all health risks. When tank conditions aren’t clean, viruses or bacteria can spread, which can make fish tired and make them lose their appetite.
Also, waste could cause ammonia to build up in the tank, which could be harmful. If this happens, it could make it hard to breathe, which could hurt the gills and the brain.
If your axolotl’s throat gets clogged, it will probably get tired and refuse to eat. and if it isn’t treated quickly, it could lead to death quickly.
Also, axolotls rarely change into forms that live on land. We don’t know why, but it could have something to do with hormones or the way water works. An axolotl’s change can be very traumatic, and it can also shorten its life span by a lot.
If you notice any strange changes in your animal’s body, like it getting bigger, you should have an exotic pet vet check it out right away.
Is It Legal to Own a Pet Axolotl?
In California, Maine, New Jersey, and Virginia, it is against the law to own an axolotl.
They are legal in New Mexico, but it is against the law to bring them in from other states. Check the rules in your area to see if you can have an exotic pet.
Axolotls are only found in Mexico. Their habitat is being destroyed, the water quality is getting worse, and more and more people are moving into it.
Because of this, they should never be taken from the wild to sell as pets. Most of the axolotls that people keep as pets are descended from animals that were raised in captivity for scientific research.
Purchasing Your Axolotl
If they can’t give you detailed paperwork about where it came from and how it was used, that’s a red flag.
You should also talk to people who have bought animals from that vendor to see if there are any problems. A local exotic animal vet may also be able to recommend a good breeder or rescue.
Expect to spend between $20 and $70 on average. Animals with less common colours, like copper, tend to cost more.
A healthy axolotl will move around and might eat if it gets the chance. Its skin shouldn’t be dry, and its body shouldn’t be too big or too small. It shouldn’t be too skinny or too fat.
Any responsible pet owner wants to keep their pet from having to go to the vet as much as possible.
Your axolotl will be less likely to get sick if you take care of it and keep it in good shape. Here are some ways to keep your pet happy and healthy.
Keep Tank Clean of Gravel
Depending on the situation, this could lead to more health problems and maybe even surgery. As a general rule, don’t buy decorations for your axolotl’s tank that are smaller than its head.
No Sharp Objects
Don’t put sharp things in your axolotl’s tank. This should go without saying. If they swim into these things, they might get hurt.
Check the labels on the sand and tank decorations to see if they say anything that could be dangerous. If all of the parts say on the label that they are safe for aquatic pets, it should be safe for your axolotl to use.
Aggressive Tank Mates
Keep the Tank Clean
Finally, keeping your axolotl’s environment clean is the best way to keep it healthy. Axolotls are picky about the temperature of their water and their surroundings, but being clean may help.
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