Could it be MOLD?

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Susann
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Could it be MOLD?

Postby Susann » Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:39 am

Hello again, it's been a while. My skink is Joey and I've been posting under Sick Little Guy, desperate for help.

Joey has been suffering from some kind of systemic infection that causes the area around his eyes and feet to inflame and swell. He has lost most of his digits and outer eyelids.

I will post some pictures here that were taken when he was at his very worst (end of Sept -09). I caution as it can be very painful to look at these.


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I caught this picture during a blink, you can see how all of his outer lids are gone.
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The digits eventually turn black and die and fall off.

After trying every treatment by the veterinarian, who here in Utah is considered the "guru" for exotics, and nothing making any difference, I fashioned a "sterile" living environment for him. Put him in a smaller tank, to force him staying on the warm side, and used towels (that I washed and boiled often) for substrate and burrowing. Nothing but a smooth glass dish for water so he had nothing rough to rub his eyes against.

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I did eventually add a cardboard box for a hide.

After just days in his "sterile" tank I saw a huge improvement!

After 3 mos, and only very mild flare-ups, he was eating well again, so I decided to put him back in his big tank.

After he had been in his big tank for only a week, we found mold in the storage room that his tank is right outside of.
I whisked him out of there right away, but too late. His eyes started getting inflamed, and now his feet are starting to swell.

The mold-remediator says the mold is Penicillium.

The vet never contributed the sterile environment as the cause for Joey's improvement. Joey had recently had one of several vitamin injections, and the vet believed very strongly that that was why he got better. Now, the vet does not believe that the mold is what is causing the inflammation. (To be fair; this is another vet, not the specialist. It's $300 to see the exotic specialist, and right now, with thousands of dollars of mold-remediation coming... I have to start with my home-town vet.) After using his contacts and extensive studying, he seems to think that it is a nutritional deficiency that causes the flare-ups.

After closely scrutinizing what I fed Joey it was pronounced superior before, I hadn't supplemented with vitamins. I DO now. But the flare-up is already going strong.

Does ANYONE have any thoughts, knowledge, suggestions on mold and BTS? Or anything else that might be helpfull? I do know, and everyone should be aware, that anything written here should never be used in stead of professional advice. But as my vet is studying up on BTS and consulting other specialists, I will gather anybody's 5 cents and add to the pot for mine, and my vet's consideration.

It is killing me to see Joey go through this again.
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Postby Susann » Tue Feb 01, 2011 10:42 am

Sorry, the pics were taken at the end of Sept 2010, not -09
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Postby Coomassie » Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:08 am

I have absolutely no idea. I would keep him in the sterile environment. It might just be a poor immune system so he may have to stay in a sterile environment his whole life. Poor little guy. I hope they can figure it out.
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Postby Marie » Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:13 am

I don't know anything about mold and BTS, but that looks VERY similar to what happened to Popsicle. After many expensive visits with an exotics vet, the vet came to the conclusion that it was a fungal infection. The condition most likely wasn't dietary because the other skinks were fine. The vet recommended dry eye ointment for the eyes (found at an pharmacy...comes in small tubes) and yeast infection cream for her poor toeless feet (yes, yeast infection cream). The eye ointment helped eyes tremendously. Not so sure about the cream. If your vet recommends a systemic anti-fungal treatment please be aware that it can be extremely hard on the reptile's organs. We took the risk with Popsicle, and I think that's what finally did her in. Keeping Popsicle in an extremely simple and clean enclosure seemed to lessen the flare ups. We used nonadhesive shelf liner for substrate and gave her towels to burrow in. Skink infections are tricky, so good luck!!
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Postby xxmonitorlizardxx » Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:13 am

Blue berry has something very close to that. I put some kind of medicated cream on it. I'll see if I can get some pictures today. And the antibiotic.
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Postby Susann » Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:14 am

Appreciate the support, thank you.
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Postby sheslikeheroin » Tue Feb 01, 2011 11:37 am

regardless of what the vet says that sterile envrionment is probably one of the best possible thing you can do. likely it is a fungal infection or possibly an allergy to a fungi like the mold you found in your house. i would try some over the counter anti-fungal creams to use around the eyes pick one containg tolnaftate or miconazole which from the reasearch i've done are reptile safe. they can be used in conjunction with either neosporin or polysporin. keep him in the clean environment, i would suggest having a vet run a full blood / fecal screen for everything but until then keep him clean and maybe try the aforementioned medicated creams. fungal infections are not super common in herps and can be real big jerks* to treat... good luck.
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Postby xxmonitorlizardxx » Tue Feb 01, 2011 6:41 pm

The anti-biotic bberry is on is called NEO-POLY-BAC
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Postby startedwith1 » Wed Feb 02, 2011 8:57 am

Have you tried polysporin eyedrops? I know it sounds so simplistic but a couple months ago boomers eyes looked exactly like joeys did. It flares up now and then and I can tell when its going to because he starts rubbing his eyes on things. The vet put him on tons of medications and none of them worked... finally I just tried polysporin eyedrops (which are the same ingredients that are in flukers turtle drops) and it cleared up within a few days and rarely comes back. I'm still not sure what it is but he's now healthy and eating properly again so the drops seemed to work. At the very least its pretty much no risk as these eye drops are mild and don't have any known negative effects.

At the same time as using those I jacked up the humidity a bit higher (because hes merauke and can withstand higher humidity) and I noticed that had an instant affect on him and its been uphill ever since.
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Postby Krippschick » Wed Feb 02, 2011 9:36 am

So did they swab the eye and feet to do a culture and sensitivity? What kinds of tests did they do? Blood cultures? I know those are probably all very expensive, but just wondering. I wonder if skinks can have allergies, or allergic reactions to things in the environment or air? This is all very interesting...I really hope they can find the answers and treatments.

If it is systemic, it would probably be better if through blood cultures or other tests that they find out specifically what is causing it. Then they could use the proper medication recommended in the sensitivity results. This would be better, I would think, than the skink receiving broad spectrum antibiotics, that may not work. I really dont know, I am used to dealing with people, so I am not sure these tests are used with reptiles. Of course depending on the whether it is a fungus or bacteria, different creams would be recommended. Sorry, I probably have more questions than answers. :( Please keep us updated, and I hope your little guy gets better soon.
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Postby xxmonitorlizardxx » Wed Feb 02, 2011 11:38 am

startedwith1 wrote:Have you tried polysporin eyedrops? I know it sounds so simplistic but a couple months ago boomers eyes looked exactly like joeys did. It flares up now and then and I can tell when its going to because he starts rubbing his eyes on things. The vet put him on tons of medications and none of them worked... finally I just tried polysporin eyedrops (which are the same ingredients that are in flukers turtle drops) and it cleared up within a few days and rarely comes back. I'm still not sure what it is but he's now healthy and eating properly again so the drops seemed to work. At the very least its pretty much no risk as these eye drops are mild and don't have any known negative effects.

At the same time as using those I jacked up the humidity a bit higher (because hes merauke and can withstand higher humidity) and I noticed that had an instant affect on him and its been uphill ever since.

That's exactlly what happens to me. I thought I was the only one. But the medicine the vet gave me works though.
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Postby Susann » Wed Feb 02, 2011 11:57 am

THANK YOU SO MUCH, everyone!

I will check with my vet about any prescribed meds mentioned, and Polysporin eyedrops will get purchased today! I have used the thicker, oilier or creamier drops and ointments available, but this sounds great. It probably wouldn't hurt on his feet too...? I will probably see my vet today for vitamin shots that he's been waiting for (ordered), and will ask him about the drops.

Yes, bloodwork and cultures were done up the ying-yang, several times; bloodwork showed elevated white-count, so his body is fighting something, cultures never showed any growth, NOT because there necessarily wasn't anything to grow, but because no-one has an "in-house" lab, and keeping the tiny amounts they can get on a swab alive until it gets to the testing facility is more likely the cause for the negative results. VERY frustrating!
I have had Joey "hospitalized" twice, and everything they could think of was done, as far as I understand it, but at the end of it all, they just hand me back a skink in pretty much the same condition as when I dropped him off ...except my pocketbook is making choking-sounds...

Mold-removal starts tomorrow, so if there's anything flowing through the air it should start drasticly diminishing tomorrow. :pray:
Joey shed yesterday, and his eyes and feet are a lot less inflamed.

The other bad thing in this situation, and I've been a bit nervous telling everyone about this, is that right before I found the mold and Joey got worse ....I drove over 1800 miles to pick up two of Iceman's Merauke babies.... So I have them to contend with in all this. I keep them separated from Joey at all times, and keep anything Joey has been in contact with, including people, washed and sterilized before coming anywhere close to the babies; Jazz and Maddie by the way ....we think.... But this whole mold thing scares me to no end. If one of them gets sick... Oh, let's not go there!
I will post pictures in another thread. They are SOOO beautiful!

Thank you all again, and please keep any thoughts or ideas coming!
:thanks: :bow1:

--Suz, Joey, Maddie, and Jazz(?)--
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Postby Susann » Wed Feb 02, 2011 12:25 pm

Picture of Joey today

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Postby Scotts1au » Wed Feb 02, 2011 12:55 pm

1800 miles!

I take it that you have seen this article that has been floating around for a while now. Not definitive in your case but does show that fungal diseases can be implicated.
http://www.jwildlifedis.org/cgi/reprint/21/2/186.pdf

It is likely that the problem with the eyes is an outward expression of a more systemic problem for which there are a ridiculous number of potential causes.

I think that your best bet is to do all of the supportive therapy stuff:
- provide him with warmth 24/7 (increase temps from your normal range)
- remove substrate and replace with paper towel
- consider antibiotic administration rather than attempting to treat the eyes only as this is unlikely to get to the cause of the problem.
- provide him with additional vitamins ie. some of the products available for birds may be of use.
- provide protein rich foods such as cooked egg and mushrooms (for some reason I've found sick blueys really respond well to these foods).
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Postby Katrina » Wed Feb 02, 2011 8:32 pm

:? So sorry to see Joey like that. :(

I'd agree with Scott on the 24/7 warmth and other supportive therapy ideas. I know I explained my experiences and what we tried in the previous thread, so I won't recount that here... but antibiotic eye drops etc. didn't work for us and Joey looks very similar with similar symptoms so I'd be inclined to think it is also a larger problem and the eyes and feet are not the cause or only problems.

Mold is an interesting idea, one we didn't really explore. I have other blueys that are doing just fine, so Nemo must have been sensitive to something, had a weakened immune system or resident infection kind of thing. All of mine are fed the same diet.

Again - I'm wishing you the best, I really hope you figure out something that works!!
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Postby El Lobo » Wed Feb 02, 2011 10:30 pm

Hi Susann, sorry to see Joey is still having problems.

With mould it is not entirely the mould that is the problem, particularly penicillium.spp; rather it is the mycotoxins they produce. Mycotoxins are thought to be a defence mechanism of moulds and are not always discriminatory so that they will also attack bacteria, whether beneficial or not. They can have a deleterious effect on all the major organs of the body, including skin. If we eat soft ripened cheese such as brie or camembert the white downy outer layer is penicillium.camemberti or blue cheese, penicillium roqueforti, so the actual mould is not all bad.

The previous elevated white cell count Joey had would have me concerned that there could be some systemic infection, but as Scott said the potential causes... :roll:. If possible re-checking the white cell count might help to rule in/out possible ongoing bacterial infection.

Your dedication in helping Joey should surely be rewarded with some positive outcome.
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Postby startedwith1 » Thu Feb 03, 2011 8:27 pm

Sorry if my post didn't come across as intended... I only meant for the eye drops to alleviate the eye being a discomfort for him not to say that it would cure it completely, I meant that the antibiotics I had Boomer on didn't clear up his eyes in any way. Im sure the antibiotics the vet had my Boomer on took away the initial chest infection and the eye sores were left over secondary symptom. Either way it will hopefully provide some comfort for him and sooth his eyes.

Just as additional info incase anyone is interested, the antibiotics the vet had Boomer on was 0.36cc every 12 hours of Bactrim in liquid form. I didn't notice any major improvements until the end of the second week and then it was rapid improvement after that (in his lungs, breathing etc.). I hadn't heard of it being used on reptiles before but the vet is a highly recognized reptile vet in area so I trusted her judgement (though at times was skeptical and had my doubts). I was also prescribed Bactrim for a really bad eye infection that my WC ctenosaura had (his eye swelled up 3x its normal size) and it cleared his infection in 4 days. The symptoms boomer had very much matched joeys so this might be an antibiotic thats worth a try.
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Postby Susann » Fri Feb 04, 2011 9:41 am

Thank you SO much!
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