Post by counterbalance on Jan 4, 2021 12:59:00 GMT
Update: if you or any other snail owner you know ever encounter a problem like this, please, read my February the 12th comment in this thread. Maybe it will be of help.
Today I found my most active, happy, adventurous and gluttonous snail with a collapsed mantle. I.e. a good potion of his body was hanging out of the (perfectly intact) shell and he was barely moving. I panicked and tried to carefully push it back into the shell. It worked, partially, but it won't go in completely and I'm worried for the lung. And even when I did manage, at some point, to fix it (or so it appeared), it wouldn't stay that way, and the small portion just slips out again together with the mantle. I put the snail into a tiny container on a small, soaking wet piece of sponge with some food next to him. I know there's nothing more that I can do, especially with him being rather small (he's an adult snail, though).
He's almost completely limp now, and I can tell he's in a really bad shape. He can't move the shell at all, let alone lift it.
So, my question is, has anyone actually had any positive outcomes after something like this? Most of the information I've read involved people giving up in the end and euthanising their suffering friend. In other cases, the snails just died on their own. I haven't found any cases where a collapsed mantle just pulled back in and attached itself to the opening of the shell. Has anyone seen that happening?
As a responsible owner, I want to do what I can, but I wouldn't want my snail to suffer needlessly if there's no hope.
Hey! Depends on throw bad the break is. It’s hard for snails to survive this but they can! They just need the right nutrition. Make sure you give him calcium. Also, you can give him a green tea bath, It is healthy for snails. Just keep the green tea bag in hot water for a minute and the poor enough onto a fish so he can sit in it without drowning. I wish you luck!
Thank you for replying, pasi9 and snaileyhammy! I do have some pictures and an update.
Okay, now I suspect I didn't give a correct name to my problem, because there's no break in the shell itself. It's perfectly healthy and intact, including the opening, and the snail's calcium intake has always been pretty good. His cuttlebone is always available for him. It's just the soft part that had slipped out of the shell without any damage to ithe shell itself. Can it still be called mantle collapse?
The pictures were taken after I first tried to tuck that sticking part back in, so keep in mind that it had been much worse when I found him and much larger portion was sticking out, like a piece of a thick tube.
As for the update, after many attempts, I managed to push the entire thing back in so that it finallystays in for the most part. The snail is better now. His breathing hole doesn't twitch spasmodically any longer, so I guess he doesn't experience any lung compression at the moment. He's become more active, he can operate his shell with no trouble; after the trauma he couldn't move it at all. He's eating and pooping again, and he really hates his temporary enclosure, because it's too small and he likes to explore. But I'm hesitant to return him back into his regular tank, because I don't see the mantle looking the same way as before the incident; It still doesn't go in past of the opening of the shell, looks somewhat mobile and the snail doesn't seem to be able to retract his foot properly. The mantle looks very puffy when he tries to hide. I really hope it's not permanent, but something is wrong in there. Also, I'm afraid the incident can happen again. Is there anything I can do to prevent it?
At first I thought that such a trauma could occur, because some of his friends like to use his shell as a transport, but they are all smaller than he is, I don't keep my bigger snails with these small ones. So I'm likely wrong, because they just seem too light to pull his internal part out of his shell like that. Here's one of of his tank mates (the white snail) next to him, the other four are just as small and light, so I don't think it's their fault:
Post by counterbalance on Jan 10, 2021 9:18:29 GMT
Thanks again, pasi9! I've read those posts, but, unfortunately, they don't provide any updates on whether the snails healed completely, whether it's a recurring problem or can go away for good (I haven't read anything with the latter being the case).
What of my little friend, there's no real change. I have tried that castor oil thing, but he hated it, looked distressed, and started cleaning it off immediately. I opted to continue giving him green tea and chamomile tea baths 2-3 times per day, hoping to prevent an infection. Other than that, he moves around a lot, clearly unhappy with his new living conditions, and it leads to his mantle slipping out, just a tiny bit, again. I push it back in. And this is pretty much what his life has become.
I honestly can't imagine it getting better. I've seen posts where snails grew new eyes and restored shells that had been in a pretty bad shape, so I don't lose my hope completely. It's just that I don't see anything that would hold the mantle permanently inside, even if I managed to fit it in properly. How is it supposed to grow back if it's actually a muscle tear? This is what I really need to know; it would at least give me a better idea of what to do and what not to do.
His mantle has always been quite thick, thicker than what my other snails have, so maybe the collapse was bound to happen eventually, even though it was okay for at least a year and a half that he's been with me, and it just looks too big for the opening of the shell. I don't know, maybe it was just squeezed out somehow because of that. Or maybe it's just swollen at the moment. I'm not sure, to be honest. I have nothing to compare to, because he's the only snail of this species that I have.
I guess I'll just have to keep taking care of him and wait. I'm worried that an infection will eventually develop, even if his condition on itself won't get worse and he keeps being as lively as he, miraculously, still is.
Post by counterbalance on Feb 12, 2021 11:58:18 GMT
I was hesitant to make this post sooner, because I didn't want to share my assumptions, in case they would later turn out to be wrong, so I'm only updating this now that I'm, more or less, sure that my little friend is out of the woods. Please, share this post if anyone ever asks you about this type of problem, and, hopefully, it'll be helpful to them.
Mantle collapse can, indeed, heal, but not the way I expected it to. On one of the pictures that I posted earlier ( drive.google.com/file/d/13JWa8dCidhvo6565weenXGmSTgbwQo_K/view?usp=sharing ) you can see a small portion of the snail's internal part sticking out after I'd initially pushed the bigger portion in (I imagine the lung would've been squashed otherwise, and was definitely constricted). But that small part seen on the picture just kept slipping out, no matter what I did. I expected it to grow back in if it stayed inside longer, which, in hindsight, was a mistake. I realised the mistake when I saw some new growth near the opening of the shell. I'm not sure how to describe it in English; I think cuticle would be the correct term. It seemed soft and fragile, so I immediately stopped my daily attempts of gently pushing the mantle back in. I didn't want to damage that new thing. I wanted to see what would happen and was a bit hopeful, because, to me it looked as if the snail's body was trying to repair itself. And that's exactly what was going on. Fast forward, about two weeks later the soft part that should be inside the shell was entirely covered by the new growth, and it seemed to be getting thicker and stronger every day. The shell doesn't look whole now, because it had been fully formed before. The new part looks more like an extension of the old shell, and it seems quite hard and solid. Pasi9 was right, after all!
A week or so ago I, finally, decided to take a risk and put the snail back into his regular tank, and he's been moving around freely; the mantle stays firmly inside the new part of the shell.
Maybe it will help someone one day, so I'm going to describe how I was taking care of him when he was healing.
1. I put him on a new clean sponge, which I always kept wet and covered it with a transparent plastic cover with holes (a small plastic box would be just as perfect, so long as the snail has no way of escaping and there are holes for ventilation). It was rather small and just high enough for the snail to be able to move around a little and crawl upside down, so that his shell just lay on the sponge without tugging him down (he spent most of the time upside down, even when he ate).
2. I cleaned the sponge and the cover every day with plain hot water, because I was concerned about the snail getting infection. I changed the food and calcium every day, too. Sometimes twice a day.
3. Daily warm green tea baths, shallow, so that it wouldn't get into his breathing hole.
4. The enclosure was small and became dry pretty fast, so I had to spray it a lot. At the same time, I tried my best not to bother the snail too much and let him rest and heal. I imagine, moving him too much could have undone some of the progress potentially, but he seemed more relaxed when everything was soaking wet.
5. I gave him a lot of various foods that he likes in small portions (because there just wasn't enough space there). I made sure he always had fresh food, especially his favourite zucchini peels, carrots, some sweet fruit treats, etc. I know that some snail owners aren't so lucky, because ill snails often refuse to eat. Thankfully, we had no such problem. Despite the new piece of shell growing, I did not notice the snail consuming more calcium than before, but it was always there for him (limestone flour and powdered cuttlebone).
Now he's back in his old tank. I temporarily removed the substrate and replaced it with a thick foam rubber padding. I doubt he can get an infection now that his internals aren't exposed, but I want to be on the safe side for a couple of weeks. He was never particularly interested in any substrate, anyway, he prefers to hang out on the walls or on the cover upside down.
Some new photos (you can actually see where the old shell opening used to be before):