Possible Austwickia in baby sulcata

MayMayMayhem

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Hello all. I noticed skin lesions on Sunny, my baby sulcata, which after reading through the forum I am now concerned may be another case of Austwickia chelonae.
Background-- I noticed the bumps on October 13th. First two pics were taken Oct 14th which is when I first took him to my reptile vet for examination. Vet did a culture swab (aerobic and anaerobic) on 10/18 which was delayed in the mail and inviable by the time the lab got it. The original spots on the neck and shoulder disappeared but there was an additional spot on the other side of his neck that developed during the wait Second swab taken 10/26 from this location. I did not get a picture of that but it has since disappeared and as of yesterday Sunny developed the two protruding flaps of skin on both sides of his neck as shown in the last two pictures.

I will update with culture results when I receive them this afternoon but I am concerned that if this is indeed Austwickia that it will not show up on a swab test based on reading posts by @mastershake noting that the area beneath the lesion should be biopsied.

Sunny is roughly 4 months old, purchased at a reptile expo in late July. He is temporarily housed in a 20L aquarium while awaiting arrival of his 4' PVC enclosure which I have just received. Substrate is a mix of coco bark and Cypress mulch atop coco coir, humidity is regularly 70-80% and above 90% in his hide, misted daily. Ambient temp is 83-85 down to 79-80 on the cool side and hovers around 95 in his basking area. I have a PowerSun mercury 100w bulb for basking/UVB on a 12hr timer and when weather was more permitting had been taking him out to bask and graze in the yard for 30 min 2-3 times a week. Additional heat provided by a CHE plus a side-mounted UTH next to his hide.
He is soaked in a warm bath every day for 20 minutes absolute minimum, usually 30-45, and I use an electrolyte solution in the bath 2x per week.
He eats voraciously, excluding the day I first noticed the bumps and a few days after. His eating and activity has since returned to normal. Diet is a variety of grasses/weeds with Mazuri LS and other greens and plants-- dandelion, clover, broad and narrow leaf plantain, nasturtium, mallow, rose of Sharon, mulberry leaves, calendula, echinacea, endive, arugula, collard greens. Food is dusted with shaved cuttle bone and reptivite 2-3 times per week on alternate days and whole cuttle bone is available daily and nibbled on.

Last weight was appx 81g at 2.75".


He is bright eyed, alert, active, and comes when called--- all normal (seemingly) since the initial malaise when the spots appeared.


I don't want to get lulled into a false sense of security if this is in fact Austwickia and isn't showing on the tests. Any guidance is appreciated.


Signal 2021 10 14 144811 052056 Signal 2021 10 14 144818 052054
 

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ZenHerper

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Heart-breakingly, these do indeed resemble Austwickia 'bumps'. Follow all of the quarantine and disinfection protocols in the Yellow Bump sub-forum...if you have other reptiles of ANY kind: this will be contagious to them.


In short: Do not share dishes or furnishings; do not recycle used bedding to other enclosures, or put it in a compost pile. Do not relocate any live plants - seal in a plastic bag if discarding. Wear disposable gloves, wash your hands thoroughly, use an ammonia-based cleaner for surfaces and dishes (wet completely and soak for at least 30 minutes before scrubbing and rinsing -- carefully discard sponges or paper towels used to scrub).

The course of the illness varies greatly in individuals, but it is ultimately 100% fatal. More serious external (skin lesions and erosion) and internal (organ failure) symptoms develop over time.

Let us know how to support you.

@mastershake
 

mastershake

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this could be a case yes. the swab could show a type of bacteria but generally they cant determine if its aw that way you do need a piece of the skin and it should go deeper. once the culture comes back ask for slide pics if they can provide them and i can def take a look to see if it resembles what we see on a regular basis with this. as said above follow strict qt especially if you have any other reptiles and do not allow them to wander outside if possible in the grass.

they can and do act totally normal with the spots. its when it becomes more deeply seeded that they start to show decline this can invade all organs, bones, muscle, etc etc basically everything inside the body. one thing we tend to see is once they have the bumps they can eat like crazy and tend to either greatly slow down or stop gaining weight regardless of how much they end up eating. you may also soon see toenails falling off this tends to happen more to the back feet (we dont know why yet) and or the facial changes either swelling in the face or legs tends to be more the front half of the body or the beak breaking or coming off. if you see any other symptoms aside from the bumps this is prob aw.
 

MayMayMayhem

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this could be a case yes. the swab could show a type of bacteria but generally they cant determine if its aw that way you do need a piece of the skin and it should go deeper. once the culture comes back ask for slide pics if they can provide them and i can def take a look to see if it resembles what we see on a regular basis with this. as said above follow strict qt especially if you have any other reptiles and do not allow them to wander outside if possible in the grass.

they can and do act totally normal with the spots. its when it becomes more deeply seeded that they start to show decline this can invade all organs, bones, muscle, etc etc basically everything inside the body. one thing we tend to see is once they have the bumps they can eat like crazy and tend to either greatly slow down or stop gaining weight regardless of how much they end up eating. you may also soon see toenails falling off this tends to happen more to the back feet (we dont know why yet) and or the facial changes either swelling in the face or legs tends to be more the front half of the body or the beak breaking or coming off. if you see any other symptoms aside from the bumps this is prob aw.
Thank you everyone for your responses and support. I am attaching results of the aerobic test, anaerobic is still pending. When the lab reopens in the morning I am contacting them for any pictures they may have of the actual slides. I will make any results throughout this process available for those collating data.
My vet has prescribed neomycin and polymyxin B sulfates and dexamethasone ophthalmic drops due to the location of the lesions and risk of any non-ophthalmic ointments getting in his eyes and causing injury.
I realize this will do nothing for Austwickia. Our gameplan at this time is to treat for other bacterial infections and monitor his progress. If additional lesions occur and Sunny is still outwardly healthy and stable, we will biopsy to confirm Austwickia. If he deteriorates or displays any further symptoms we will euthanize to minimize his suffering.
I luckily do not have other reptiles or birds at this time and am proceeding with full quarantine precautions, burning used bedding, etc.
I do however have several aquariums where I breed fish, cherry shrimp, and snails, and was in the process of creating a vivarium for dart frogs--- has anyone come across anything regarding transmission to these or other species aside from reptiles and some birds?
 

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mastershake

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so the coryne can resemble this a bit on a slide. its possible they are mistaking it as this tends to be a beaded filamentous type thing also. this happens to a lot of labs that are not familiar with austwickia. this is not transmissible to fish (not this type). if you would like to get with me i can get you some info for one of the labs we use who has a lot of experience with this bacteria as like i said some do not and it gets mistaken many times for other things unless you do full pcr and other tests. our phone number is also in my sig below if you have ANY questions feel free to give us a call if its easier i can def answer questions that way also or even speak to the vet/lab etc if they do. or you can message me. honestly i would personally recc silver sulfadiazine over either of those be careful with neomycin under heat lights as it can cause them to burn easier. where sulfa does not. think putting oil on your skin and laying out under the sun.
 

Jan A

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Thank you everyone for your responses and support. I am attaching results of the aerobic test, anaerobic is still pending. When the lab reopens in the morning I am contacting them for any pictures they may have of the actual slides. I will make any results throughout this process available for those collating data.
My vet has prescribed neomycin and polymyxin B sulfates and dexamethasone ophthalmic drops due to the location of the lesions and risk of any non-ophthalmic ointments getting in his eyes and causing injury.
I realize this will do nothing for Austwickia. Our gameplan at this time is to treat for other bacterial infections and monitor his progress. If additional lesions occur and Sunny is still outwardly healthy and stable, we will biopsy to confirm Austwickia. If he deteriorates or displays any further symptoms we will euthanize to minimize his suffering.
I luckily do not have other reptiles or birds at this time and am proceeding with full quarantine precautions, burning used bedding, etc.
I do however have several aquariums where I breed fish, cherry shrimp, and snails, and was in the process of creating a vivarium for dart frogs--- has anyone come across anything regarding transmission to these or other species aside from reptiles and some birds?
Welcome to the forum, BTW. and thank you for being forthcoming & trying to do what you can for your very cute tort. I am so sorry you are encountering this & wish you the very best of luck this is not aw. And we are here to support you any way we can!! Sending good vibes your way.
 
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MayMayMayhem

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?? wish you the best, sounds like you’re on top of it. Where did you get your tort?
A local reptile expo. I am reaching out to the organizers to let them know of the potential issue so they are aware and can hopefully make an informed decision or reach out to that particular vendor. The idea that all of those other beautiful herps may have been exposed breaks my heart.
 

queen koopa

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A local reptile expo. I am reaching out to the organizers to let them know of the potential issue so they are aware and can hopefully make an informed decision or reach out to that particular vendor. The idea that all of those other beautiful herps may have been exposed breaks my heart.
Good on you for reaching out to the organizers. Maybe your experience will help others. Apparently there are no authorities or programs in place to stop the average person from breeding and selling sick animals.
 

MayMayMayhem

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so the coryne can resemble this a bit on a slide. its possible they are mistaking it as this tends to be a beaded filamentous type thing also. this happens to a lot of labs that are not familiar with austwickia. this is not transmissible to fish (not this type). if you would like to get with me i can get you some info for one of the labs we use who has a lot of experience with this bacteria as like i said some do not and it gets mistaken many times for other things unless you do full pcr and other tests. our phone number is also in my sig below if you have ANY questions feel free to give us a call if its easier i can def answer questions that way also or even speak to the vet/lab etc if they do. or you can message me. honestly i would personally recc silver sulfadiazine over either of those be careful with neomycin under heat lights as it can cause them to burn easier. where sulfa does not. think putting oil on your skin and laying out under the sun.
I have a human rx 1% SSD cream on hand--- would that be appropriate?
The lab informs me that they do not take pictures of their slides, unfortunately. However the tech I spoke with is going to run the culture for sequencing and I should know those results in another day or two.
I found additional bumps on Sunny's shoulder and hind leg during bath time this morning so I am bracing for the worst and trying to give him the best love and care I can.
 

mastershake

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just remember by not doing a deep tissue sample you may not get a positive for it. so remain very careful even if they tell you they did not find anything. if you are finding more bumps ill be honest its probably austwickia. they cant really diagnose it by growing it out it requires pcr testing and its usually much more deeply seeded then a swab will be able to show. for now treat this like its full on quarantine. ssd is mainly better under heat lights as it doesnt cause them to burn. it will turn black under uvb this is normal and nothing to worry about. it will NOT however do anything for austwickia. if you did want to pm me the lab's info i can def pass it along to the main lab we use in case they want to touch base with each other. dr oz is very well known by most labs across the country.
 

mastershake

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i am so sorry you have to go through this. i responded and as i said if you need anything you are welcome to contact us.
 

Jan A

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PM sent. I am proceeding with full quarantine hygiene under the assumption it is Austwickia. If the lesions continue to spread at the rate they have over the last 18-24 hours I will be strongly considering euthanasia rather than putting Sunny through anesthesia and biopsy recovery.
Damn, I hate this disease. I can't believe that breeders & resellers continue to sell sick torts to innocent buyers like you & so many others who have come here to the Forum when THESE PEOPLE KNOW their torts are likely infected.

I am so sorry you are going thru this & hope you won't let this experience turn you off to torts. My Houdini (red foot) is such a good & interesting experience.
 

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