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Axel, an albino pet salamander or axolotl

Removing the Stone

Friday, April 2, 2021

The zoological medicine service at the Oklahoma State University veterinary college’s Veterinary Teaching Hospital treated an uncommon case recently that involved removing a stone from a salamander’s stomach.

Alumnus Dr. Paul Welch of Forest Trails Animal Hospital in Tulsa referred the case to OSU. Axel, an albino pet salamander or axolotl, accidentally ingested a rock in his aquarium which became stuck in his stomach. Axel was anesthetized by adding doses of tricaine to his water. The veterinary team monitored his heart rate and used an endoscope to find the rock, grasp it with a wire snare and pull it out. Axel recovered in clean, fresh water aerated with oxygen and is doing fine.

In the wild, axolotls are listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as critically endangered with a decreasing population of less than 1,000 mature individuals found in north central Mexico. Captive animals are bred in a multitude of colors. Axel is albino lacking all color.

MEDIA CONTACT: Derinda Blakeney, APR | OSU College of Veterinary Medicine | 405-744-6740 |

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