A possible case of Austwickia?

Maryalice

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Hi co-Tort Parents,

After heaving a sigh of relief and celebrating Frankie's (my 5-month old sulcata) victory over respiratory infection (RI), we find another cause for concern - a white-yellow bump near his right eyebrow. I have read the thread about austwickia chelonae, and am very concerned that Frankie's could be one such a case in the Philippines. He has the other symptom for this disease - dry skin at the back of his neck, which keeps breaking and peeling off. He is also not growing as fast as I think he should -- he's 72 grams now. (He was 58 gms when I got him about 2 months ago.) I have asked the pet store where I got him, if they know anything about this disease and they all gave me a blank look.
The thread on the yellow bump was a year ago. May I know if there had been any findings on the bacteria that causes Austwickia and the meds that could kill it? @shawnateerow , @mark1 , @zovick , @Pastel Tortie , and @mastershake . @mastershake : can you also let me know about Fortaz and silver sulfadiazine - where to get them, how to administer them, etc? Thanks so much.
 

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mark1

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did you treat the RI with antibiotics ? there are plenty of bacterial , fungal and viral infections that cause skin lesions...... i wouldn't jump to any conclusions based on what you describe (dry skin and a bump) ................ austwikia has been around for 25-30 yrs in the U.S. , been found in desert tortoises , gopher tortoises , pancake tortoises , bowsprit tortoise , egyptian tortoises and sulcata tortoise that i know of , also snakes , lizards and turtles , just wasn't called austwikia chelonae .....i personally feel social media can make something seem exponentially larger than it is ...it's absolutely a serious infection , but doubtfully something that will become an epidemic ...

one possible problem theorized with this bacteria is it may produce a toxin like diptheria , it's theory based on facts ...... copper sulfate was 100% effective in resolving dermatophilosis in alligators ....... my opinion is , if you have a turtle or tortoise with an obvious bacterial infection (not sure your tortoise has an obvious infection) , treat the infection with an antibiotic that covers the most likely causes asap , keep them in optimal conditions , on the warm side , and hope for the best ........ imo, it appears wet spreads it , your tort is alone so it probably wouldn't matter ......... your little tortoise appears pretty dry , maybe optimal enviromental conditions will resolve your problems ......fortaz and silver sulfadiazine are good safe stuff from my experiences .....
 

Maryalice

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did you treat the RI with antibiotics ? there are plenty of bacterial , fungal and viral infections that cause skin lesions...... i wouldn't jump to any conclusions based on what you describe (dry skin and a bump) ................ austwikia has been around for 25-30 yrs in the U.S. , been found in desert tortoises , gopher tortoises , pancake tortoises , bowsprit tortoise , egyptian tortoises and sulcata tortoise that i know of , also snakes , lizards and turtles , just wasn't called austwikia chelonae .....i personally feel social media can make something seem exponentially larger than it is ...it's absolutely a serious infection , but doubtfully something that will become an epidemic ...

one possible problem theorized with this bacteria is it may produce a toxin like diptheria , it's theory based on facts ...... copper sulfate was 100% effective in resolving dermatophilosis in alligators ....... my opinion is , if you have a turtle or tortoise with an obvious bacterial infection (not sure your tortoise has an obvious infection) , treat the infection with an antibiotic that covers the most likely causes asap , keep them in optimal conditions , on the warm side , and hope for the best ........ imo, it appears wet spreads it , your tort is alone so it probably wouldn't matter ......... your little tortoise appears pretty dry , maybe optimal enviromental conditions will resolve your problems ......fortaz and silver sulfadiazine are good safe stuff from my experiences .....
 

Maryalice

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Thanks Mark. Yes, my Frankie had 6 shots of 0.01ml of doxycycline in a span of 2 weeks which resolved his RI. But then the yellow bump appeared about 2 weeks after his last shot and I’m afraid it’s the Austwickia that has been discussed extensively in this forum. Based on the article I cited, the top 3 antibiotics to which the Austwickia is sensitive to, are cephalothin, ampicillin, and minicycline. If what Frankie has is austwickia, I would like to treat it as soon as possible before it could wreak havoc internally. Just wanted to ask if anyone in this forum has succeeded in treating Austwickia with these antibiotics, and what their experiences are.
 

mark1

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personally i would check my enviromental conditions , and feeding , see how he does before running him through more antibiotics . doxycycline is a suitable replacement for minocycline in most cases , i'd guess doxycycline would be as effective as minocycline for this possible infection ..... as far as "if" it were A.chelonae , as far as i know reptiles positively identified with this bacteria always died , but as far as i know A.chelonae was always a co-infection , there was no definitive conclusion they died from this bacteria , some were definitively determined to have died from the co-infection ..... the fact he had a RI makes me think you may have an enviromental/feeding issue ....... if the lesions spread go to a vet .... if they don't and he acts normal , forget about it , optimum enviromental and feeding conditions ..... the symptoms you see very possibly could be from the doxycycline ..... when people take doxycycline they tell them to stay out of the sun ......
 

Maryalice

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Oh, I did not know that those who take doxycycline should avoid sun exposure - does this apply to tortoises? I provide him 30-45 min of exercise on the lawn under the morning sun, weather permitting. So far, there is only 1 bump by his eyebrow. If another appears, he will need to go back to the vet. Thanks for the advice, Mark.
 

ZenHerper

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Thanks Mark. Yes, my Frankie had 6 shots of 0.01ml of doxycycline in a span of 2 weeks which resolved his RI. But then the yellow bump appeared about 2 weeks after his last shot and I’m afraid it’s the Austwickia that has been discussed extensively in this forum. Based on the article I cited, the top 3 antibiotics to which the Austwickia is sensitive to, are cephalothin, ampicillin, and minicycline. If what Frankie has is austwickia, I would like to treat it as soon as possible before it could wreak havoc internally. Just wanted to ask if anyone in this forum has succeeded in treating Austwickia with these antibiotics, and what their experiences are.
Drug Sensitivity in lab containers is not the same as Safe Effectiveness in live bodies. Strong drugs can (do) have toxic side effects, so they are not to be used casually or "just in case". Combinations of these drugs are not practical because of the toxicities. Chemicals that might kill Austwickia can easily poison the patients.

@mastershake has tried exhaustive combinations of treatments to no avail, so far. When he's able, he will take a look and chime in.

As far as the global numbers go right now, "failure to thrive" or "improper care conditions" are still far more common than "yellow bump" when a little one is doing very poorly.

It's scary and hard to wait. We're here for you. Review the habitat and care information found here:

The reptile immune system is 100% dependent on the *just right* conditions...no breaks, no exceptions. This baby must be kept in an environmentally-optimized habitat 24 hours a day.
 

mastershake

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the outcome with the 3 antibiotics we found only suppressed it for a period of time. as well as caused liver values to skyrocket. and elevated kidney levels. as well as blood tests we all out of place. fortaz and silver sulfa were early on and we found after testing they only helped to resolve the bumps on the surface level this DID NOT do anything to help it internally.

one thing we noticed was when they had a compromised immune system or were extremely stressed from say to high of temps etc it tended to make the autwickia come out more / or faster. so it could be from being sick and having been treated for the ri it is now causing it to show symptoms.

where are the bumps? the skin peeling in your pics looks normal being honest the skin issue from austwickia is more of a dry cracked condition that pic shows fairly normal skin shedding. that one bump by the eye also is suspect of not being the same thing. it does look a bit different then what we usually see bump wise with this.

if its only that one so far i would be more in a monitor type state then start any type of major treatment which could do more harm then good. start assuming they have it and practice good biosecurity i.e. wear gloves or use ammonia based hand soaps and wash VERY WELL do not share ANYTHING AT ALL among anyone else and do not put them outside in the grass for now. give it a month and watch for more bumps or other symptoms to show up. and if you can get me a nice close up macro shot of that bump im going off the pics here and when i blow them up they do get grainy.

as far as the not growing we also found when we treated a baby for something with most antibiotics for anything it tended to slow down their growth in many cases. which could also be the case here. especially if it was a longer time on them.
 
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mastershake

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personally i would check my enviromental conditions , and feeding , see how he does before running him through more antibiotics . doxycycline is a suitable replacement for minocycline in most cases , i'd guess doxycycline would be as effective as minocycline for this possible infection ..... as far as "if" it were A.chelonae , as far as i know reptiles positively identified with this bacteria always died , but as far as i know A.chelonae was always a co-infection , there was no definitive conclusion they died from this bacteria , some were definitively determined to have died from the co-infection ..... the fact he had a RI makes me think you may have an enviromental/feeding issue ....... if the lesions spread go to a vet .... if they don't and he acts normal , forget about it , optimum enviromental and feeding conditions ..... the symptoms you see very possibly could be from the doxycycline ..... when people take doxycycline they tell them to stay out of the sun ......
animals we tested did not always show this as a co condition. we did however see it show up in animals that were heavily stressed or had a previous infection as much as months prior that had been cleared up such as an ri or something like that. basically a compromised immune system of some sort.
 

mark1

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Drug Sensitivity in lab containers is not the same as Safe Effectiveness in live bodies. Strong drugs can (do) have toxic side effects, so they are not to be used casually or "just in case".
yes , bleach i'm sure would kill it in a petri dish ........ "just in case" it's called prophylactically , it's used in human medicine as much as veterinary medicine ........ it's easier to cure a cold before it becomes a pneumonia ........... i've been taking reptiles to exotic vets for more 40 yrs , i've yet to kill one with antibiotics ....... a good vet is a good guesser ...........
 

mark1

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animals we tested did not always show this as a co condition. we did however see it show up in animals that were heavily stressed or had a previous infection as much as months prior that had been cleared up such as an ri or something like that. basically a compromised immune system of some sort.
how many animals have you tested ?
 

mastershake

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necropsy wise more then 23. but we also had some sent into us from places who were known to have this and otherwise were healthy. within anywhere between 2 weeks to 4 months+ later they showed symptoms. any test we could run on them at that time aside from a necropsy was done and no other issues were found. we also had a few cases where a couple of babies showed up with upper ri's we cleared those up did full blood work weekly then a month later they showed signs of aw. we also sadly euthanized over 30 other animals who were to far along and we felt were suffering. only 2 of the necropsied animals had any other issues found. the rest the only thing found was aw.

another case was 3 who got lost in the mail for a few days in the heat they were VERY overheated when they arrived. they had no other issues we could find (including 2 having had necropsy done) those 3 all showed symptoms about 2 weeks later they were in full qt isolation and gloves were always used nothing was shared whatsoever anything that came out of there qt setup was properly disposed of or burned.

the ones we put on the heavy ab course showed signs of lethargy and they mostly stopped eating and mostly laid there. the blood work was terrible. there are others as well sadly. we have been dealing with this for over 1.5 years. we know the main source (not that there are not others) but have not been able to get anything done to shut them down and they dont care at all and will continue to sell them.
 
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mastershake

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yes , bleach i'm sure would kill it in a petri dish ........ "just in case" it's called prophylactically , it's used in human medicine as much as veterinary medicine ........ it's easier to cure a cold before it becomes a pneumonia ........... i've been taking reptiles to exotic vets for more 40 yrs , i've yet to kill one with antibiotics ....... a good vet is a good guesser ...........
we found strong ammonia in the end was more effective then bleach in killing it off on surfaces.
 

ZenHerper

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yes , bleach i'm sure would kill it in a petri dish ........ "just in case" it's called prophylactically , it's used in human medicine as much as veterinary medicine ........ it's easier to cure a cold before it becomes a pneumonia ........... i've been taking reptiles to exotic vets for more 40 yrs , i've yet to kill one with antibiotics ....... a good vet is a good guesser ...........
"Just in case" is called ill-advised. Indiscriminate use of antibiotics is why we have antibiotic-resistant microbes.

Cold viruses cannot be "cured" with antibiotics. Viral pneumonia cannot be avoided with antibiotics. Secondary infections are avoided with scrupulous attention to cleanliness and proper husbandry.

I've worked with veterinarians since the 1980s. A great vet is a serious diagnostician, not someone who throws antibiotic darts at the wall. Good Guessing is not a class in medical school.
 

mark1

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there are a lot of reasons for resistance , proper dosing is not one of them ..... trace antibiotics in our food , in our enviroment , improper low dosing and duration ..... to become resistant the organism needs to survive the treatment or exposure .....although like viruses , stuff mutates naturally regardless.

i went to the CLEVELAND CLINIC (ranked 2nd best hospital in the world in 2020 by newsweek) last year with a really bad infection in my leg , they "threw" an antibiotic at it , they didn't culture anything , they did not pcr , they looked at it , and treated what it most likely was , told me if it didn't seem better next week come back ..... that's how it's done in the real world ....

the cold analogy must have gone over your head , if that's what you got out of it ....... lets put it this way , i've raised dogs most of my life , bottle fed pups ,cleft palate pups ,or pups with swallowing proplems often aspirate milk , it starts out with raspy breathing , snotty nose , mucus cough , like a "cold" easily cured with antibiotic , if you don't catch it quickly it progresses to a serious bacterial pneumonia and will kill the pup ........ easier to treat a cold than pnuemonia , viral or bacterial ....... easier to prevent an infection than to cure one . it's why they give you a tetanus vaccination if you step on a nail , a flu vaccination , give you antibiotics before and after a dental surgery , it's why they give folks antibiotics after a surgery , and open wound injury , a open broken bone ........

nope , you can't teach good guessing in a class , good guessing comes from experiences ..... if you worked with vets since 1980 and they told you they weren't guessing , they lied to you ........ i've had and have some vets that are nothing short of brilliant ...... you'll never see me on here telling folks vets don't know what they're doing , i've never had that experience .......

i know a bunch of these folks personally for decades , they are nothing short of brilliant people , animal people , the dude owns the place , i'd "guess" genius , and probably one of the best guessers i ever met ............

https://northviewvet.com/our-story/
 

mark1

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we found strong ammonia in the end was more effective then bleach in killing it off on surfaces.
i'm gonna "guess" you pour some bleach in that dish and not much will be growing .......

i'm no scientist , or doctor ........ what i am pretty good at is spotting flawed logic ...... even my own , i don't think that'll be the case here ...........
 

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