Possible impaction in P. pulcher

Sclerax

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Been lurking for a while, first time posting. I'll get straight to the pertinent stuff.

I read Tom Moran's blog on impaction last night, and this morning I'm finding that to have been dreadfully serendipitous. I'm noticing that one of the Psalmopeous pulcher that I care for has a suspiciously clean enclosure, free of any fecal spatter on the walls; a swollen abdomen; is exhibiting some of the described behavior - namely the excessive scratching of the abdomen, and lastly; what I believe to be a plug of hardened feces impeding it from defecating.

20170528_094024.jpg

It's about 2" DLS

A little background: I oversee the arachnid department at a LPS. This tarantula has had to go through multiple mite infestations which I cleared that up succesfully. I really don't want to see it die due to impaction. Looking for any advice or suggestions. I'm already expecting to have to anesthetize and this would be my first experience with that. Thanks in advance
 

cold blood

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Just looks heavy pre molt to me...it should molt fairly soon...I wouldn't be too concerned.
 

Sclerax

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Just looks heavy pre molt to me...it should molt fairly soon...I wouldn't be too concerned.
You might get a good size increase. That thing is ready to pop.
This is what I would assume if not for the behavioral misnomers. Of the three P pulcher in the shop, only this one hasn't webbed all over the enclosure, nor is there any visible excrement. The top-down photo doesn't display well but ventrally I notice one of the bottom spinnerets appears slightly larger than the other and there is a small, translucent protrusion coming from the anus. Attempting to get a picture but the t is not being very accommodating. It also continues to scratch it's abdomen more than I would consider typical in the few hours that I've been closely monitoring.

I could be having a hypochondria moment, but there are so many abnormalities present that I have to be concerned

EDIT: Further observation suggests a lack of mobility on one side in both the primary and secondary pair of spinnerets
 
Last edited:

boina

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Whatever else is wrong, this tarantula is in heavy premolt. If it manages to molt successfully the possible impaction may clear up. If you interfere right now with the tarantula this close to a molt you will very likely kill it. At this point in time I really think you may do a lot more bad than good by trying to clean up the anus and especially by anesthesizing.
 

cold blood

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only this one hasn't webbed all over the enclosure
Not all act the same...some just web more than others.

nor is there any visible excrement.
That's not uncommon...I just got a text from someone the other day who had bought a cam sling from me...he was alarmed at the white stuff...when I told him I was poo, he said he'd never seen that before...and he had many other ts...its not always something you see or find.
It also continues to scratch it's abdomen more than I would consider typical
This is normal pre-molt behavior...some do it more than others.

Further observation suggests a lack of mobility on one side
General lack of mobility is normal for such a pre-molt t.

there is a small, translucent protrusion coming from the anus.
This I couldn't see...not sure if this is necessarily an impaction indicator.

Being so close to a molt, would suspect things to be set right soon. f you really think its blocked, it could be rinsed with water and a damp q-tip...but good luck getting a Psalm to hold still for that one.
 

Sclerax

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Whatever else is wrong, this tarantula is in heavy premolt. If it manages to molt successfully the possible impaction may clear up. If you interfere right now with the tarantula this close to a molt you will very likely kill it. At this point in time I really think you may do a lot more bad than good by trying to clean up the anus and especially by anesthesizing.
The last two molts were April 18th and February 4th. I know that a month of premolt isn't unusual but I still feel this to be inconsistent with its molt cycle, for it to be so far along this early. I'd expect a molt around the end of next month. Impaction could also cause abdominal swelling via fecal buildup.

This is one of those situations where I don't want to be right, certainly. It seems that impaction is fatal more often than not. I also don't want to be inactive about it if I am correct but I also don't want to injure the spider, especially if I'm wrong about this. I'm finding it to be quite the dilemma
 

cold blood

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Its been 40 days since its last molt...that seems about dead on normal for a Psalm of this size if its well fed.
 

Anoplogaster

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Can you elaborate on what could actually cause an impaction in a T? Intestinal impactions are a big issue in the herp world because they eat solid foods, and can swallow substrate. But Ts slurp liquid. There isn't much going in that could cause an impaction.
 

boina

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Can you elaborate on what could actually cause an impaction in a T? Intestinal impactions are a big issue in the herp world because they eat solid foods, and can swallow substrate. But Ts slurp liquid. There isn't much going in that could cause an impaction.
Here's the mentioned article: https://tomsbigspiders.wordpress.com/2017/05/27/tarantula-impaction-revisited/

My guess would be that a incomplete molt may be the problem. When the lining of the anus doesn't molt probably I'm pretty sure it could get stuck and block the anus.
 

JoshDM020

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when I told him I was poo, he said he'd never seen that before.
I was about to start talking about how ive never seen any of my Ts leave noticeable poop but i also just looked at my avic and there was poop all over the door :rolleyes::banghead:
 

Ellenantula

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It could be an impaction but with so much evidence towards pre-moult (appearance, behaviour) I would lean towards the more obvious conclusion of being due to moult.

(And that's not to say only one thing can be going on at a time -- but I wouldn't look for less-likely scenarios in this case)
Good luck - hope yours will moult soon and all will go well!
 

Sclerax

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Update: The T died, I think the picture speaks for itself. That is an immense amount of fecal buildup removed after pulling the plug from the dead T

14960764685111634259656.jpg
 

Tim Benzedrine

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Welll, that's a new one for me, never heard of impaction issues before in regard to tarantulas and like Anoplogaster, was puzzled on how such a thing might occur. boina's explanation sounds valid, though.
 

viper69

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Been lurking for a while, first time posting. I'll get straight to the pertinent stuff.

I read Tom Moran's blog on impaction last night, and this morning I'm finding that to have been dreadfully serendipitous. I'm noticing that one of the Psalmopeous pulcher that I care for has a suspiciously clean enclosure, free of any fecal spatter on the walls; a swollen abdomen; is exhibiting some of the described behavior - namely the excessive scratching of the abdomen, and lastly; what I believe to be a plug of hardened feces impeding it from defecating.

View attachment 241640

It's about 2" DLS

A little background: I oversee the arachnid department at a LPS. This tarantula has had to go through multiple mite infestations which I cleared that up succesfully. I really don't want to see it die due to impaction. Looking for any advice or suggestions. I'm already expecting to have to anesthetize and this would be my first experience with that. Thanks in advance

Does your T have access to constant fresh water? It should.
 

Andrea82

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That is absolutely horrifying....
Good call though @Sclerax .
I'm not sure there is anything that you could have done, except maybe wetting the anus with a q-tip.
So sorry you had to go through this :(
 
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