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I think this is a cyst?

Discussion in 'Tarantula Questions & Discussions' started by Stavrogin78, May 17, 2019 at 12:58 AM.

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    I've been doing some reading on cysts in tarantulas, and I'm not sure if this really follows the pattern.

    This is Bella, a female B. Smithi. I've had her for just over twelve years without any problems at all. For the past six months or so, she's had a bald patch on her abdomen, but it just looked like your typical run-of-the-mill bald patch. Thing is, she doesn't really kick much - I don't handle her, the only thing that ever goes into the tank is food. But the patch didn't show a lump or anything, it was always smooth and uniform with the rest of her abdomen.

    But she just molted. Just before the molt, she stopped eating (normal), and as her abdomen shrank, it started to look misshapen, like there was a crater on top of it and a bumpy bulge at the back, right where the bald patch was. She molted successfully and seems to have come through - she cleared the skin about 36 hours ago and looks happy enough.

    Except for this awful-looking, lumpy, bald, protrusion on her abdomen. It doesn't look like the photos of "cysts" I've seen. And it didn't appear until the molt - two days before the molt, her abdomen was perfectly normal-shaped.

    Humidity in the tank is usually 75-80% just naturally (I'm on the west coast of Vancouver Island), temperature is 70ish normally. This just kind of came out of nowhere. The photos aren't great (my phone camera sucks), but you can see the lumpy, ugly protrusion.

    Anyone seen anything like this before? I know she's not a spring chicken, but 12 isn't that old for a B. Smithi.

    Any help is appreciated. image1.JPG image2.JPG
     
  2. Paul1126

    Paul1126 Arachnobaron Active Member

    Tarantula looks well past it's prime sort of resembles a mature male.
    The enclosure looks quite horrific though.
     
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  3. Arachnophoric

    Arachnophoric Arachnobaron Active Member

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    Wow. That looks awful. I can't think of much that would cause something like that - as you said, that doesn't look like any normal cyst. It also isn't normal for a Ts abdomen to shrink while in premolt, unless they have a massive loss of fluids.

    Can you please post pictures of the whole setup? Maybe a bit of a shot in the dark, but my first thoughts are perhaps she took a fall that caused an internal injury that tried to heal.
     
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  4. Here's the whole setup:
    tank.JPG

    Ignore that lamp on top, it's never on. It's mostly just there as weight. No heat sources (room hovers around 70), humidity seems fine as I basically live in a rain forest.

    She does occasionally scale the glass, right to the top. But she gets herself down fine. She's been in this same tank for the whole twelve years I've had her.

    If it's NOT a cyst, I would think that's good news; because she seems otherwise fairly healthy and happy. She's got one leg that she lost a couple of years back, and she's been through two molts since (I think?), and it's regenerating more each time, though it does seem a little misshapen. That gets a little better each time, too.

    Every time she molts, her abdomen comes out much "skinnier" than it appeared pre-molt. That's been normal for her. At her age, molts are fairly long between. Seems to me her last one was WELL over a year ago. I didn't keep track, but it feels like it's been a long time. So I really have no idea what to think here.
     
  5. Paul1126

    Paul1126 Arachnobaron Active Member

    Enclosure is not good, would agree that she took a fall.
    My bet is the tarantula is most defienley not happy in there.
     
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  6. Okay. Well, that makes me feel horrible. Help me out here, then. I've never actually joined a tarantula board or anything before, and when I got her, I didn't get any advice against this setup, so I just went on believing it was okay.

    Maybe I just need to do more reading. Let's assume she makes it past this, because so far, it looks like she probably will. Tell me what to fix here. As far as I knew, this setup wasn't unlike the ones I was used to seeing T's kept in at the museum I volunteered at as a teenager, which was overseen by an entomologist, so I'm not even sure what I'm doing wrong here. "You don't know what you don't know"... She's been in this exact enclosure with this exact setup for more than a decade, eats well, never had problems before, but it sounds like I'm doing some things that are spectacularly wrong and never knew it. I'd love to fix that.
     
  7. Arachnophoric

    Arachnophoric Arachnobaron Active Member

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    Humidity is a term completely irrelevant to tarantulas, ESPECIALLY yours - Brachypelma are a dry/arid species, all your T needs is a full water dish. Glad to hear that you're not using the heat lamp - they're awful for Ts.

    You're also not watching your T 24/7 - she can easily be taking a fall when you're not looking. That enclosure, to put it nicely, is very poor for your T. There's way too much height for a heavy-bodied terrestrial, in combination with a screen top she can get her tarsal claws stuck in - did you happen to see how she lost that leg? Because screen lids can do exactly that. The substrate is also not good; far too shallow, and those wood chips are sharp, just like those hard rocks. The entire bottom of that enclosure was just a rupture waiting to happen. I'm not trying to be mean, I'm saying this out of genuine care for your T that you really need to redo this setup pronto.

    Don't be celebrating. Losing a leg is inconsequential, but abdominal injuries are not in the slightest and are more often than not fatal. To boot, based on what I can see it doesn't even look like your T has spinnerets anymore, and by extension, an anus. That means she can't pass feces, and if whatever that mass is doesn't kill her first and she starts eating, impaction WILL kill her.

    I truly don't foresee your T surviving past another molt.

    Yes, it's normal for a T to become skinny AFTER molting, as the fat is turned into growth. But prior to the actual process of molting, the T should be consistently fat.
     
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  8. VanessaS

    VanessaS Grammostola Groupie Arachnosupporter

    It looks to me as if her exoskeleton has ruptured and that is her insides coming out. I had a tiny spiderling that experienced the same thing, in a different spot and he didn't make it. I hope that isn't the case with your girl.
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  9. Roger. She DOES still have the spinnerets, you just can't see them in the photo. The lump ends above them. It seems to be clear of any of the important stuff on the abdomen (sorry it's a horrible photo).

    I'll take your advice on redoing the setup at the first opportunity. I can remove the rocks right now. I don't want to try to move her right now, as I'm sure she's still soft from the molt. But she's obviously been up and moving around, and doesn't appear to be bleeding, so I'm hoping those are good signs.

    Feeling like an idiot here. But thank you folks for steering me right. I guess we'll see. Any more suggestions are welcome.
     
  10. Drea

    Drea Arachnosquire Active Member

    Unfortunately her chances are grim just as @Arachnophoric said. A slightly ruptured can be a death sentence and that looks like a major rupture. I hope she pulls though but I am not confident about it. Please continue to update her condition. She might surprise us all and recover.
     
  11. Arachnophoric

    Arachnophoric Arachnobaron Active Member

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    Tarantula care and what we know about proper husbandry has changed significantly over the last decade or so, so perhaps what you had set up was considered normal then but most definitely is not now.

    Although I don't share your optimistic outlook, there's certainly no harm in getting your girl in an appropriate set up to make her more comfortable. Get a container such as a plastic shoebox that has plenty of floor space. Add ventilation holes along the sides. The box should be deep enough to fill with a few inches of substrate (you'll want to use substrates like cocofibre, eco earth, or plain potting soil without any additives). The distance of the substrate to the top of the enclosure shouldn't be any more than 1.5x the diagonal legspan of your T - for v example, if your T has a dls of 5" you wouldn't want to exceed 7.5" from the surface of the substrate to the top of the enclosure. Keep the substrate dry.

    You'll want to supply her with a hide that has an open bottom - that cup isn't a suitable hide unless you break it in half. A hide shouldn't be a dead end, but think of it like the entrance to a burrow. My personal favorite to use for hides is partially buried cork bark, but there are several alternatives that also work.

    Last thing you need is a water dish. With an injury like that after molting, I'm sure how long she lasts will be very dependent on how often she's taking in fluids.

    Of course, like you mentioned, wait until she's hardened to move her, but while you wait for that I'd work on getting the new enclosure together. A little more reassuring to hear she still has spinnerets, but the mass can easily still cause numerous complications. Really hope she somehow pulls through for you, truly.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2019 at 1:50 AM
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  12. Drea

    Drea Arachnosquire Active Member

    I would also make sure the water dish sets very low so she don’t have to move around too much for a drink. I wouldn’t feed her for a week or so either because the extra pressure from food could worsen the condition and start a bleed again. The water will help replace the some of fluids she lost from a bleed.
     
  13. Paul1126

    Paul1126 Arachnobaron Active Member

    You need to change the substrate to top soil, coco fibre something like that.
    A hide should also not be a dead end but instead an opportunity for the T to dig underneath and expand.


    Also the mesh top isn't good either, you can replace the top or buy a nice tub and just make a new enclosure which is what I would do since it will take a lot of substrate in the current enclosure to make it safe.
     
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  14. I THINK the water dish is good. Here's what it looks like (she's had this one for years):

    dish.JPG

    Those sides slope gently, and are mayby 3/4" high. Is that too high?

    I have a suspicion that this injury happened well before the molt (since I saw the deformity before she actually molted), and she made it through the molt anyway. As you can see from this photo, she's turned herself around since the last one, which was just in the past hour, and she's moved well away from where she molted, so she's mobile. That's... slightly encouraging, I guess, but I get from what everyone's saying here that the prognosis isn't great.
     
  15. Paul1126

    Paul1126 Arachnobaron Active Member

    Well what I do with dishes is sink them into the substrate so they are level with it.
    Easier for the T to access it and if it falls onto it less likely to cause a significant injury.
    If I was you OP I would take advice that was given and fix the enclosure.
     
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  16. Yeah... most of what I know about tarantula care, I learned about 25 years ago. Guess I just never looked into it once I thought I sort of knew what I was doing. Guess that was a mistake.

    Also, the cup actually IS broken in half. The half just sits on top of the dirt, so it's totally open underneath. The cup was a gift from an old girlfriend that just happened to get broken dead down the middle...

    I'm gonna try to find a Sterilite tote or something for her, as soon as possible. Faint hope is better than none...
     
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  17. Arachnophoric

    Arachnophoric Arachnobaron Active Member

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    It would be better if you tried leveling it a little more, or making the surrounding substrate slope up to meet it easier.

    It could have happened any time after her previous molt for all we know. But the reason that it's not promising that she made it through this molt is that she now has a very irregularly shaped deformity in a very vital area. In the off chance she makes it to her next molt, there's a good probability it'll either cause her to 1 - get stuck in her next molt, or 2 - come off and rupture her abdomen entirely.
     
  18. Arachnophoric

    Arachnophoric Arachnobaron Active Member

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    Just something for you to keep in mind from now on. With so little that we know about these animals, we're constantly learning more about them.

    That's good to hear. Wouldn't be my personal choice in a hide, but it'll work. When you get her new enclosure set up, make sure there's a solid 4 inches or more of substrate at least and try to angle the cup so the bottom of the hide goes into the substrate, more like a proper entrance to a burrow.

    Absolutely. Please do keep us updated, as much as I'm expecting the worst, I really am hoping for the best for you and your T.
     
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  19. Wang

    Wang Arachnopeon

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    Hello, my English is not very good, please understand. I have seen someone treat a Xenesthis immanis cyst with Gentamicin. I hope I can give you some reference.
     
  20. Arachnophoric

    Arachnophoric Arachnobaron Active Member

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    I'd be incredibly hesitant to use human antibiotics on an invertebrate.
     
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