Axolotl Swollen Throat? Causes And Treatment For Swollen Axolotl

Axolotl Swollen Throat

Looking after an unusual pet such as axolotl can sometimes be a challenge. Especially, when they are sick. Axolotls can suffer from variety of illnesses but a more common one is swollen throat. Axolotl swollen throat is normally caused by impaction, bloat, infection or obesity. In most cases, it’s treatable as long as you act quickly.

This article will help you establish the cause for your axolotl swollen throat and determine what is the best treatment.

Axolotl Swollen Throat – Symptoms

If you’ve noticed your axolotl developing swollen throat, the first thing you need to do is answer the following questions that will help with the diagnosis:

  • Are they eating?
  • Pooping?
  • Are they less active?
  • Is the rest of the body bloated and puffy? – If there is swelling at the back legs and fore legs, the axolotl swollen throat can be a symptom of edema
  • Is the axolotl floating? – If the answer is yes, it means that it can be gas build up from being bloated
    To learn more about why axolotls float and if it should be a concern, click here Why Is My Axolotl Floating? 4 Causes For Floating Axolotl

Axolotl Swollen Throat – Causes

axolotl swollen throat
Axolotl Swollen Throat

Now that you have all the information and any other symptoms, you need to explore the possible causes for axolotl swollen throat such as:

  • Edema
  • Infection
  • Impaction
  • Bloat
  • Obesity
  • Dwarfism


Axolotls are prone to edemas. This is when there is abnormal fluid build up in the organ tissue, airways or lungs.

Depending on the cause of the edema, the fluid can build up in the lungs slowly or very rapidly.


One of the first noticeable symptoms of Edema is axolotl swollen throat and neck. However, to be sure that your axolotl is suffering with an edema, you should keep an eye on some of the other symptoms such as:

  • Lethargy
  • Scales that stand out with a pinecone-like appearance
  • Eyes that bulge
  • Gills that are pale. If you’re concerned about your axolotl’s gills, head over to the full guide Axolotl Gills – How To Treat Gills Problems with Pics
  • The anus can become red and swollen
  • Redness of the skin or fins
  • Refusal to eat
  • Swimming near the surface

Apart from looking for other symptoms, you can also diagnose edema by checking your axolotl’s mouth. If you don’t see anything under the tongue, then it is edema. On the other hand, if you see a lump that looks like pus, it’s most likely throat infection.

Although, in some cases, edema can be life threatening, more often is nothing to worry about and it won’t affect your axolotl’s quality of life.

In terms if treatment, there isn’t much you can do. Many owners will resort to placing the axolotl in the fridge. However, that won’t fix the issue.

If your axolotl has an edema and there are other tankmates, it’s important to do the following:

  • Move the fish to hospital tank
  • Treat the fish or the water with antibiotics such as Maracyn-Two (see link below). A 10-day course is ideal for ensuring the infection is eradicated, but you should always follow the manufacturer’s directions for duration and dosage


One of the most common causes for axolotl swollen throat is infection such as stomatitis or mouth rot. Normally, when the water in the tank is too hot, bacteria will start growing that can cause an infection in the mouth. Some of the bacterias that can cause this are aeromona and pseudomonas.


Apart from axolotl swollen throat, other symptoms of infection include:

  • Swollen chin area
  • The axolotl won’t be able to fully close their mouth, also known as gaping mouth
  • Difficult swallowing food and spiting it out as a result
  • Loss of weight
  • Sores around the lips


Infectious stomatitis in axolotls is contagious. This means that any tank mates should be quarantined. To treat axolotl swollen throat as a result of infection, it would require antibiotics.

In addition to antibiotics, you should also fridge the axolotl as that will improve their immune system.

In terms of diet, an axolotl suffering with infection should be fed a special diet. It’s recommended to feed them small portions of blackworms, chopped earthworms or small bits of pellets.

Monitor your axolotl’s progress over 2 week period and if their condition doesn’t improve, you should take them to the vet for further testing and treatment.


Obese Axolotl

Axolotls are prone to obesity. If you’re feeding your axolotl too often or the wrong foods, it can result in them gaining too much weight and subsequently developing axolotl swollen throat.


If your axolotl swollen throat is caused by obesity, the first thing you need to do is start feeding your axolotl the right diet and don’t feed them too often.

It’s recommended to feed young axolotl’s daily and adults – every other day.

In terms of a healthy, staple diet you should feed them earthworms, blackworms, bloodworms or axolotl pellets. On the other hand, raw beef, raw shrimp or raw scallop should only be given as an occasional treat.

Read the full guide on fat axolotl here Fat Axolotl Or Something Else? Is Your Axolotl Overweight And How To Fix It!


Another possible cause for axolotl swollen throat is impaction. Impaction occurs when a foreign body such as gravel, snail, shell or something else gets stuck in their throat. In some cases, your axolotl can also become impacted from overfeeding.


Other symptoms of impaction besides axolotl swollen throat include:

  • Refusal to eat
  • No poop
  • Less active


If your axolotl has become impacted, your focus should be getting them to pass whatever is stuck inside of them. This can be done by fridging your axolotl which will help pass or eject anything that’s stuck in their digestive system.


Axolotl swollen throat can be a symptom of bloating. Bloating in axolotls can be caused by many things such as scepticaemia, organ failure (kidney, liver, heart), malnutrition etc.

It’s important to note that bloat is not an illness but rather a symptom of renal, hepatic, cardiac, lymphatics problems or scepticaemia. Normally, one of the first symptoms is swelling in the chin and throat area.

To read the full guide on bloating in axolotls, head over here Axolotl Bloated Belly? What Causes It And How To Treat it!


Initially, bloat will present with axolotl swollen throat, especially if it’s the result of cardiac or lymphatic problems. Normally, axolotls that suffer with bloat tend to be rather ill already. Therefore, there will be other symptoms of illness and stress.

If left untreated, the bloating can spread to other parts of the body aswell.


The first thing that you can do at home to treat axolotl swollen throat as a result of bloat is to give them salt baths. Salt baths are good for fluid retention. In addition, you can also fridge your axolotl as the low temperature will help with any inflammation.

Although, the mentioned treatments would help your axolotl’s bloat, that is only a temporary solution. To properly treat the bloat, you will need antibiotics prescribed by a vet.

If your axolotl is not responding to either the antibiotics or the salt baths, then you might have to consider euthanasia.


Axolotl Swollen Throat

Many owners would notice axolotl swollen throat and think it’s a symptom of an illness. In most cases, it is indeed a symptom of an illness. However, in other cases you just have a dwarf axolotl on your hands.

Normally, dwarf axolotls grow to around 6 inches within the first year and that is their final size.
Their body has a squished appearance, shorter tail and in some cases short or no neck.

Dwarfism in axolotls is caused by a genetic condition. They don’t tend to live long, although some owners have dwarf axolotls that are well and alive for over a year.

Axolotl Swollen Throat – Treatment Cost

Pets are expensive to look after. What’s even more expensive is when your exotic, unusual pet gets sick.

If you need to take your axolotl to the vet, it’s always good to have an idea how much it will all cost.

Vets can charge anywhere from $50 to $100 just for the visit. In addition to that, antibiotics can cost anything up to $150.

Final Thoughts

Axolotl swollen throat is a common condition that owners have to deal with. In some cases, it’s nothing to worry about and is easily treatable. In other cases, your axolotl will need to be taken to the vet for further tests and antibiotics.

The most concerning causes for axolotl swollen throat that might require immediate medical attention are edema, infection and bloat.

Other medical conditions that present with axolotl swollen throat that can be treated at home are impaction and obesity. Another condition is dwarfism. However, this doesn’t require treatment.

It’s important to observe your pet and write down any other symptoms besides the swollen throat. This will help with correct diagnosis of their condition and is something that your vet will ask for.

It’s important to note that if your axolotl stops eating and is barely moving, you should take your pet to the vet immediately.

What Are Signs Of A Sick Axolotl?

If you suspect that your axolotl might be sick, the first thing to check is their eating habits. For instance, if your pet is stressed because of an infection or water quality issue, they will stop eating.

  • Other symptoms of a sick axolotl to look out for include:
  • Less responsive
  • Gill deformation
  • Curling of the tail tip/tail membrane
  • Floating
  • Inappetence
  • Skin lesions
  • Eye lesions

What Are Common Axolotl Illnesses?

Some common axolotl illnesses to look out for include:

  • Metabolic Bone Disease
  • Obesity
  • Red leg
  • Water-borne parasites
  • Infections as a result of poor water conditions



My name is Iliyana and I'm a passionate animal lover and pet owner. As there is significantly less information online about unusual and exotic pets, I decided to found this website and recruit expert writers to help pet owners.

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