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Dyskinetic/hyperkinetik symptoms in Harpactira caffreriana slings

Discussion in 'Tarantula Questions & Discussions' started by boina, Feb 24, 2018.

  1. boina

    boina Arachnoprince Arachnosupporter

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    Yesterday I discovered two of my Harpactira caffreriana slings show symptoms of "DKS". Since that term is widely overused I will for the rest of the post stick with more descriptive terms.

    Both slings show diskinetic and moreover hyperkinetic movements. The movement looks exactly like the spider @Tomoran showed here. One sling is more affected and not able to coordinate its movement at all, the other managed a recognizable threat posture at least. Both slings have been rehoused a few weeks ago and the third, slower growing sling that I haven't rehoused yet doesn't show symptoms. Easy solution, right? New enclosures or substrate are to blame... Not so fast. A few shelves over and with at least 20 other enclosures in between one of my T. cyaneolum juveniles is showing diskinetic and hyperkinetic movements, too, although less severe. She hadn't been rehoused lately.

    Of course, I'm desperately trying to figure out what went wrong and how I can save my spiders. I did rehouse all three affected spiders immediately on the off chance that it actually was someting in the enclosures, although several things are speaking against it: I have rehoused other spiders (N. incei juveniles) and they are doing fine - well, 1 out of 5 hasn't taken its food yesterday and you can believe I'm watching that one very closely, but it hasn't shown any sign of abnormal movement. Substrate, cork bark and fake plants from the same batch as in the affected enclosures has been used elsewhere without problems.

    I think I missed the onset of the symptoms in the H. caffreriana slings since they had stayed hidden since the the rehouse and the worse affected one hadn't taken it's food for the last two weeks which actually was the thing that made me suspicious. The T. cyanoneolum was slow in tackling it's prey last week but the symptoms are only visible this week.

    So far for the description of the situation. Now onto possible causes:

    1. Poisoning. Everyone always points to that possibility. There are several things that make that unlikely here, though:

    a. I cannot think of any poison I could have used anywhere around them. From outside? Who sprays pesticides in the middle of winter?

    b. Only 3 spiders in a shelving unit with over 100 seem to be affected as of now.

    2. This post:
    This was the only scientific evaluation of the problem I could find. For some strange reason it doesn't get cited more often. So here we have a bacterial bowel infection and Microsporidia, a parasitic single cell fungus that mainly affects Arthropods. If that is the reason:

    a. It could spread :depressed::grumpy::arghh:

    b. the infected spiders would have a chance of survival, though. Every infection can be beaten.

    Did I miss something? Does anyone have any extra information, preferably something scientific?

    Can someone please tell me about spiders that survived??? PLEASE???
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2018
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  2. boina

    boina Arachnoprince Arachnosupporter

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    I've been checking more spiders and I've found two more that are affected, one of my G. pulchras and my L. nigerrimum. There are a few that are hidden and short of digging them up I can't be sure how they are doing. I haven't checked the 50 or so largest spiders yet...

    At this point I'm ready to just curl up and cry.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2018
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  3. spookyvibes

    spookyvibes Arachnoknight Active Member

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    I seen a YouTube video not long ago where someone healed a few spiders from DKS (from my understanding of the video, it's in a language I don't recognize.) I believe it was also posted in the DKS thread. Here's a link to the video:
    I don't know if this would help your situation, especially if it is due to necrosis in the bowels of your tarantulas or microsporidia. I hope your tarantulas make it:( It's so sad to see them so uncoordinated and helpless, and frustrating to know that there's not much you can do to help them.
     
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  4. EulersK

    EulersK Arachnoworm Staff Member

    About all you can do is try to make them molt as quickly as possible. I've read several reports of spiders making it through this, but only through several molts. Keep them warm and as well fed as you can... it's a shame they're not eating well.
     
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  5. Chris LXXIX

    Chris LXXIX Arachnoemperor Active Member

    I'm sorry to hear that... what if is something 'feeder/prey' related?
     
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  6. boina

    boina Arachnoprince Arachnosupporter

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    I've thought about that. I've fed mealworms to some of the smaller Ts, so I thought they could be the culprit until I found the L. nigerrimum. She's significantly bigger that the other affected Ts and had only gotten Dubias, which the others hadn't gotten at all. So there are tarantulas affected that have gotten different prey while all the others, that have eaten the same, seem fine - at least as of now.

    Btw. I've found the 6th - T. sp. Columbia.
     
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  7. sasker

    sasker Arachnobaron

    I am sorry to hear about your predicament. As you stated, pesticides are not as likely to be used in winter as in summer, but I wouldn't rule it out completely either. One day my aunt had visitors over with a dog that had flees. She had a serious flee infestation on her hands in the following days and she had to have her house sprayed because it was really bad. If memory serves me, this happened in spring and not during the winter. However, I can imagine that something like this could happen in winter just as well (transferring a dog from one warm apartment to another). I hope you will find what was the culprit. I think it is not common to have several 'DKS' cases at once in one place, so this would be a unique research opportunity (albeit a sad one :().
     
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  8. draconisj4

    draconisj4 Arachnoknight Active Member

    Is it possible that if the cause is a bacterial bowel infection that it could be spread by using the same tongs for maintenance across enclosures? I would assume that some bacteria would be passed in the feces and would be in the substrate though I don't know how long it might remain viable there. I doubt most people would disinfect tongs after working in each enclosure. Just tossing this out as something to consider.
     
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  9. spookyvibes

    spookyvibes Arachnoknight Active Member

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    You know, you bring up a really good point. The tongs should probably be boiled and not used in the same enclosures as the tarantulas with DKS. Use another pair of tongs with those individuals. If it is transferable between specimens, in theory that should help at least a little bit. @sasker brought up a really good point too. Also, if you live in an apartment, I'm sure pesticides could find their way into your apartment if someone in the apartment building is using them. Just a theory, and if you don't live in an apartment, then it's certainly not applicable.
     
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  10. draconisj4

    draconisj4 Arachnoknight Active Member

    That's a definite possibility, I live in constant fear of pesticides because my apartment is connected to a veterinary clinic that uses contact premise spray for fleas year round. To make matters worse there are 2 connecting doors into the clinic and I also work for them a couple times a week. I sealed the connecting doors with window sealing tape because we don't use them and on work days my clothes go straight into the washer and I take a shower when I get home. I still worry though.
     
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  11. boina

    boina Arachnoprince Arachnosupporter

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    No, I live in a house in the woods - seriously. I have a couple of neighbors but the rest are fields and woods (and cows, come spring). It's also a ground water protection area (it's our drinking water), so use of pesticides is very limited and it's too early in the year for pesticide use, anyway. And I live in eco-concious Germany, where use of pesticides is more limited than in America, anyway.

    But I will be using separate tongs for the infected spiders :)
     
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  12. sasker

    sasker Arachnobaron

    Lucky you! That sounds like an awesome place to live! I now start to have some kind of Hänsel und Gretel ideas about a little house hidden in the woods. Not made of candy, but full of tarantulas... Not that I think you are a witch, let me be clear about that! It's just the description of your house :D
     
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  13. boina

    boina Arachnoprince Arachnosupporter

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    The interesting thing is that the affected tarantulas are still eating!! They obviously are not able to catch prey but both badly dyskinetic Harpactira slings have picked up prekilled roach nymphs and are eating!! They have even webbed a bit in their new enclosures, so I do have hope still.
     
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  14. Leila

    Leila Arachnobaron

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    I'm sorry this is happening to some of your Ts. I recently lost my P. regalis and B. albo slings to the same kind of thing: and like you, I have no idea what had actually caused their demises.
     
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  15. boina

    boina Arachnoprince Arachnosupporter

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    Update:

    The first cafreriana sling has died. I've also and found out that my prized E. sp. red is severly affected. At least a dozen spiders show less severe symptoms.

    And I may have found the reason. I took in two rescue cats from a shelter in early January as the shelter was full and they asked me to take a couple of feral cats off their hands. I had taken cats from them before and know they used to use Advantage as spot on against fleas. Now I've found out that at the beginning of January the shelter had switched to Effipro (Fipronil + Pyriproxifen), a proven acaricide/arachnicide that is made to kill fleas not only on the cat but also around the cat and is infinitely more dangerous to spiders. They had been treated the day before they came to me...

    The time line is not that convincing - cats came in early January, first symptoms in early/mid February, but still...

    I've been kicking myself that I didn't ask more clearly how the cats had been treated against flees.

    I've found somewhere that hyperthermia (keeping the spiders much warmer than usual) may help in some cases, so I'm trying to figure out how to keep the affected spiders very warm.
     
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  16. sasker

    sasker Arachnobaron

    Thanks for the update. We are also considering taking in a street cat in our neighbourhood, so it is good to keep in mind the dangers of anti-flea medication. Please keep us posted about the progress you make. I hope you will be able to keep the fatality rate low.
     
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  17. boina

    boina Arachnoprince Arachnosupporter

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    Next update:

    My E. sp. red is deteriorating fast and I don't think she'll make it. Everyone else is still holding on. Further, I found my GBB is affected, too.

    All this makes it increasingly unlikely that the flea treatment has anything to do with it. The E. sp. red. didn't seem affected when I first looked 3 weeks ago and now she cannot move at all without cramping and starts twitching as soon as I shine a flashlight on her. If she contracted the disease only about two weeks ago the timeline really doesn't fit in with the application of the flea treatment. The same goes for the GBB. Symptoms seem to only have appeared recently - she looked fine only days ago.

    At this point I'm back to assuming it's an infectious disease that seem to be spreading erratically - the GBB is at the other end of the room, far away from the other affected spiders.
     
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  18. Leila

    Leila Arachnobaron

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    I am so sorry, boina. I would really love to know exactly what causes these symptoms...
    I keep hoping that none of my other Ts become affected; as I stated before, I recently lost 2 of my Ts to similar behaviors/symptoms..
    Best wishes to you and your Ts.
     
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  19. Albino Characterantula

    Albino Characterantula Arachnosquire Active Member

    Hey @boina how has this been going for you? You mentioned you had a bunch of others showing symptoms. I'd be losing hair over this!

    this is awesome... I've literally thought about this as I go grabbing things with the tongs; poop, crickets, substrate, guiding T's in and out of things, laying said tongs on the table and possibly getting more bacteria. I am going home and rubbing alcohol on everything I've used for the T's.
     
  20. boina

    boina Arachnoprince Arachnosupporter

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    I made another thread here where I described what I did about it.

    In the end one of the H caffrerianas, the E. sp. red and the GBB died, but the rest pulled through.