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#85230 - 02/26/06 09:14 PM aflatoxin in crickets?
Anonymous
Unregistered


This is something I never worried about until I found this site ha-ha. I am one that feeds crickets to my gliders and was never aware they can have aflatoxin in them if raised in a cricket farm. What is aflatoxin exactly? How much toxin is harmful to the glider since human grade food amounts can be to much? Also, has anyone lost a glider or had problems because of this toxin in crickets? Those who use crickets too have you had any problems? Thanks I understood the part of onions but crickets I don't know much about and how they may affect the gliders. <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thanx.gif" alt="" />

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#85231 - 02/26/06 11:17 PM Re: aflatoxin in crickets? [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Yes my glider died because of the cricket.

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#85232 - 02/26/06 11:27 PM Re: aflatoxin in crickets? [Re: ]
Dancing Offline
Glideritis Anonymous

Registered: 09/10/04
Posts: 22746
Loc: 80 acres of paradise in KS
Aflatoxins are caused by a mold that grows in corn/corncob/cornmeal products. It takes a very small amount to be lethal to gliders. The owner, Miss Ellen lost gliders to aflatoxin poisoning as have others. This is a real danger to the gliders. There was even some dog food recently that was recalled because the corn used in the dog food contained aflatoxins and several dogs died from it.

Crickets will eat the corn bedding they are raised in, and the aflatoxins are then stored in the cricket. When the gliders eat the crickets, they are then poisoned by the aflatoxin.

Crickets themselves are safe for gliders but you need to make sure the crickets have been raised in some form of bedding besides corn products.
_________________________
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I could have missed the pain
But I'd of had to miss the dance


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#85233 - 02/26/06 11:30 PM Re: aflatoxin in crickets? [Re: ]
GliderHappy81 Offline
Glider Addict

Registered: 11/20/05
Posts: 3224
Loc: NC
Wow! I didnt know that!
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#85234 - 02/26/06 11:47 PM Re: aflatoxin in crickets? [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


i wonder how much of this is accurate....and if the can-o-crickets have it as well... because it is advertised on glider sites as a good source of protein

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#85235 - 02/27/06 12:57 PM Re: aflatoxin in crickets? [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


what kinds of bedding do they raise crickets in other than corn? This way I can sound a tad more educated when I start asking away <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

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#85236 - 02/27/06 12:58 PM Re: aflatoxin in crickets? [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


So are canned crikets bad too??

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#85237 - 02/27/06 02:55 PM Re: aflatoxin in crickets? [Re: snicketmom]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Okay, I just talked to Dale at Grubo, and they use a feed/bedding that has a very small percentage (4%) corn. He also explained to me that if NO corn is used then the crickets will not grow, plus they are very short lived. They use something similar to Chicken mash and to his knowledge the bedding that Grubco uses is the least percentage of corn than other products out there. He told me that if you get a bunch of crickets, you will only need to feed an orange slice every day or so and crumbled dog food to keep them fed. He seemed very knowledgeable and took time to talk to me at length about the meal worm bedding vs. the cricket bedding. Their mealworms are bedded with a wheat bran so absolutely no corn is used for them.
He also stated that he hears things about the aflotoxin stories and that they haven't had any problems with their crickets as long as he remembers.
There! Whew!!!!

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#85238 - 02/27/06 03:02 PM Re: aflatoxin in crickets? [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


OK you guys got me scared now to feed crickets to my gliders... Now i'm thinking, if i breed my own crickets, if their parents are somewhat bred on corn based beddings but their off springs aren't, will this be safe?

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#85239 - 02/27/06 03:26 PM Re: aflatoxin in crickets? [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Thanks cycy that was a lot of info

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#85240 - 02/27/06 03:42 PM Re: aflatoxin in crickets? [Re: ]
Anmaw Offline
Glider Guardian

Registered: 08/03/05
Posts: 659
Loc: Hernando, MS - USA
Satanduck,
The following was posted back in January (I think) in answer to someones question as to whether second generation crickets of crickets that were bedded/fed cornmeal were safe.

</font><blockquote><font class="small">Quote:</font><hr />

I thought about that, too, at one point...

Well, I have heard a lot about alfatoxins since being around these boards, and one of the things I learned from Ellen was that the alfatoxins actually combine with the crickets' very DNA, and will incorporate itself into the chromosomes, much like many viruses will!

Now, I don't know if that includes the cells of the gonads of the insects (organs producing sperm and eggs) or other reproduction-involved tissues, but if it does, then perhaps the alfatoxins are still a danger in subsequent offspring, as well. Who knows...

It's source is a fungus, and I don't know the species' properties, but if its spores can embed itself in tissues or within cells of the animal and lay dormant or even activate within the host organism, then who is to say that it cannot be passed onto the eggs or even from individual to individual, like an insect STD.

Some people say it's better safe than sorry and choose not to feed bugs at all.

Mikey

--------------------
"Oh Lord, they do try hard to make me feel that I don't matter at all, but I refuse to falter in what I believe and lose faith in my dreams 'cause there's a light in me that shines brightly..." (Mariah Carey)

www.MIKEYBUSTOS.ca

<hr /></blockquote><font class="post">

Personally, I don't feed crickets to Stryder (did in the beginning), but after reading so many post about the dangers I chose not to continue. I figure there are plenty of other sources of protein to offer him that I don't have to worry about.
_________________________
Becky
Guardian of Stryder,
my Grandson's Sugar Glider

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#85241 - 02/27/06 06:38 PM Re: aflatoxin in crickets? [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


One other thing that I forgot to post;
Dale at Grubco told me that I was going to a lot of expense with feeding the mixture that I feed. (Rolled Oats, Dry Baby food, Bran, Calcium and Herptivite).... (Ugh!!! Now I find out!!!)
Well, he told me that Grubco had researched the nutritional value of mealworms for some time including whether they gain any nutritional value feeding this type of bedding vs. just feeding the wheat bran (not wheat germ). He went on to suggest I should just stick to feeding them a wheat bran and wait to feed them the gut load mixture for the last week or so before feeding them to gliders. They don't gain any nutirtional value of mention to worry with the gut load mix until then. (Actually can be up to 18 hours before feeding to gliders).
I just thought all of you farmers would find that interesting..... I did!! <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

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#85242 - 03/12/06 11:57 PM Re: aflatoxin in crickets? [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


OK...so now do I change the bedding of the mealworms when I bring them home or do I just leave them in the substraite they came in?

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#85243 - 03/13/06 10:58 AM Re: aflatoxin in crickets? [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Sorry StephensSuggies,
I didn't see this.....
Where did you get your mealworms from? If it is the chicken mash, I would change it out, but that's just me. Also, some mealies are packed in sawdust, which definitely needs to be changed out.

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#85244 - 03/13/06 12:20 PM Re: aflatoxin in crickets? [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


I get the mealworms from Petco or PetsMart...I keep them in the frige but wanted to prolong their life as mucha s possible...heard on here somethinga bout once a month take them out and let them warm up so they can eat the oat mix that some us...is this true? If so what mix of what do I put together to change them into to let them eat?

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#85245 - 03/14/06 08:54 AM Re: aflatoxin in crickets? [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


I use a gutload mix in my fridge feeders, consisting of:
2 Cup Wheat Bran
1 Cup Rolled Oats
2 Cups Dry Oatmeal Baby Cereal
1 Tsp Herptivite
1 Tsp Calcium....
...........but you don't have to, you can just use some rolled oats and wheat bran. I take mine out about once or twice weekly for a couple of hours so they can hydrate and eat the mix and a leafy veggie... and you're right, it does prolong life for them...

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#85246 - 03/14/06 09:00 AM Re: aflatoxin in crickets? [Re: ]
angelic4296 Offline
Glider Addict

Registered: 09/06/05
Posts: 3264
Loc: Northeast U.S.
OK, not to mess the flow of the conversation up here, but up above, someone said it was found in corn....if my corn came from the frozen food aisle at a grocery store, could it still have aflatoxins? Will it develop in the corn in the freezer?...oh dear Lord, I'm in a panic now, Gizzy loves corn and gets it as a treat a few times a week.......
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2 spoiled gliders, Gizzy (6/05) and Ruthie (?/05) <3

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#85247 - 03/14/06 01:40 PM Re: aflatoxin in crickets? [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


I think the aflatoxin is a fungus that grows when the corn goes bad so the corn you are giving shouldn't have it. That is what I get from the things I have read. Plus I haven't heard of anyone worried about giving corn except the cal/phos ratios <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif" alt="" />

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#85248 - 03/14/06 07:32 PM Re: aflatoxin in crickets? [Re: ]
Anmaw Offline
Glider Guardian

Registered: 08/03/05
Posts: 659
Loc: Hernando, MS - USA
Jess,
Sort of <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/offtopic.gif" alt="" />, Jeff is right you don't have to worry about aflatoxin from frozen corn.

Jeff,
On Topic, the main concern with corn products are the ones that are stored in places where mold can grow. That's where the problem comes with crickets - sometimes they are feed corn meal and are kept in cornmeal and corn cobb bedding. In a warm, moist environment mold can form very quickly in corn products.
_________________________
Becky
Guardian of Stryder,
my Grandson's Sugar Glider

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#85249 - 03/15/06 01:17 PM Re: aflatoxin in crickets? [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


The geographical location of most corn producing farms are in the Southern states where there is, believe me, LOTs of moisture... the corn that aflotoxins form in, are that which lie about at the sheds and processing areas awaiting preparation to be processed into other products or sold to do so, are those that are affected most. These are left in mass amounts to collect even more moisture in their wait. If you ever have a chance to see any vegetable shed operate, you would know exactly what I mean.... and if you have the chance I encourage you to do so, it is educational...

The corn that you get from the frozen products at your grocery stores, haven't had a chance be contaminated with aflatoxacosis because they are picked from early product.. have you ever seen where some of the frozen products state "tender corn", or "tender peas" well believe me, the longer they wait to pick corn, the harder the kernels... as with most vegetables, they pick them pretty early, this is what you are getting at the grocery store, the early corn products that don't sit around in the moisture (As much anyway), like I said, awaiting the process. The processed corns are what you want to watch out for, just for this reason. The aflotoxins may not be in the processed corns, but once you or me, allow it to sit around, it may develop this contaminant on its own.... aflatoxcosis is not picky about who or what it affects, but know you are pretty safe with your frozen corn....

Forgive me for going on and on and on and on.... <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

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#85250 - 03/15/06 02:02 PM Re: aflatoxin in crickets? [Re: ]
Dancing Offline
Glideritis Anonymous

Registered: 09/10/04
Posts: 22746
Loc: 80 acres of paradise in KS
cycy, that was a good explaination.

Most corn cob bedding and corn meal etc is processed from dried corn. Once this corn is dried, it can sit for quite a long time before it is processed into the final product. It is during this time frame that the mold/fungus can form.
The frozen corn you get is not allowed to sit around waiting for the finishing process. (or none of us would want to buy and eat it) Feeding corn to gliders is safe (considering the calcium to phophrous ratio and balancing it with other foods).
_________________________
620-704-9109
Judge not until you have walked in their shoes and lived their lives. What you see online is only part of the story.

I could have missed the pain
But I'd of had to miss the dance


The soul would have no rainbow if the eyes had no tears.

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#85251 - 03/16/06 12:58 AM Re: aflatoxin in crickets? [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Perhaps, I have been ingesting plenty of aflatoxins because up until just now, I didn't realize the word is AFLATOXINS and always thought it was ALFAtoxins (like Alfa Omega). LOL! <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/roflmao.gif" alt="" /> *shakes fist at you all who didn't correct me* Brain... where has it gone? Mine?! Must find another...

Mikey <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/dance.gif" alt="" />

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#85252 - 03/16/06 01:10 AM Re: aflatoxin in crickets? [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Anyway, I've always wondered why this aflatoxin issue has been so pervasive in the glider community and not in the community where crickets are the staple of God - namely the Herp community, i.e. the community of Reptiles and amphibians...

Surely the metabolisms of herps differ from those of gliders, but you'd think that with all this talk on crickets associated with aflatoxins here on GC, and among all these captive reptiles/amphibians that are fed almost exclusively on a diet of crickets, there would be a wide array of reptile/amphibian death reports attributed to aflatoxins due to contaminated crickets, and you'd expect the existence of cautionary tidings on aflatoxins in the herp community (like you see in the glider community) in light of the many, many, many years that reptiles/amphibians have been owned by humans. However, the fact is, it's not even an issue in the herp community. Comparatively, humans know a lot more about reptile/amphibian husbandry due to more experience in owning the herps than sugar glider husbandry, and you'd expect that the herp community would have identified crickets and aflatoxins as a problem by now. I mean, we've been feeding crickets to reptiles/amphibians much longer than we have for sugar gliders, and yet there still seems to be more reports on sugar glider deaths from aflatoxins than those of reptiles/amphibians.

Infact, I can't find any case on the net where a reptile/amphibian has died from alfatoxin! Can someone explain this?

There have been cases where humans, dogs, and birds have died from aflatoxins, but I find none where reptiles, amphibians, and even tarantulas/scorpions have died from it.
Also, in the case of dogs/human/birds dying from aflatoxins, it has been not from eating crickets, but from eating other products containing corn.

So, sometimes I wonder how certain we are that all these gliders are dying from aflatoxins in crickets, and not from some other unforseen cause. I'm not questioning the existence of aflatoxins nor its lethal capabilities, nor am I discrediting anyone who has preached about the whole aflatoxin issue and gliders, but I'm assuming that reptiles/amphibians are just as susceptible to toxins (if not more) as gliders are, and being a group of captive animals sustained on these crickets that allegedly are such potential dangers to our gliders, why haven't there been any cases of reptiles/amphibians dying from eating such risky insect feeders?

Mikey <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/dance.gif" alt="" />

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#85253 - 03/16/06 05:42 AM Re: aflatoxin in crickets? [Re: ]
Charlie H Offline
Glider Slave

Registered: 11/13/03
Posts: 1659
Loc: Wallis Texas
Aflatoxin is actually a poison produced by the mold of certain foods mainly corn, peanuts and other grains that have been dried and stored. Usually in silos. If the moisture content and temperature are not controlled properly during the drying process or the storage period mold will form and produce aflatoxin. Remember, aflatoxin not only shows up in corn but in nuts and other types of grain. It usually occurs when the materials are in silage and the moisture settles to the bottom of the silo during warm weather.

Where the problem arises with crickets is not usually what they are housed in but the type of care given. If you use clean toxic free products to start with you lessen the chances for mold to develop. One of the problems is trying to provide moisture for the cricket and not creating a favorable condition for mold to develop.

Since aflatoxin is a poison different species have different levels of tolerance for it. I would suspect the reason aflatoxin has not been an issue within the reptile world is because reptiles have a higher tolerance for this particular poison. Think in terms of chocolate for instance. People can eat it but chocolate will kill a dog.

Probably the safest crickets to feed would be from your own cricket farm. Keep the bedding fresh and dry and feed only fresh clean food and there should be no problem. Large scale producers are more likely to cut cost and not change out bedding as often as needed.
Charlie H
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http://www.angelfire.com/tx/glidertree/
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#85254 - 03/16/06 05:45 AM Re: aflatoxin in crickets? [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Good point Mikey, but .......possibly amphibian deaths are not reported as the Glider deaths are, and the deaths of amphibians possibly attributed to by aflatoxin development have not had necropsy's done.... don't know. I often wondered why our gecko died and at the time, we were feeding crickets to him, but never thought about it until we got Gliders... this was years ago. The gliders anatomy, as you know, is different of that of a reptile/amphibian....
Take the monitor lizard or the Komodo dragon ... they eat decomposing flesh, lots of bacteria there! <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />!..... so you may be right about some species, but lets not include all reptiles/amphibians:

</font><blockquote><font class="small">Quote:</font><hr />
I'm assuming that reptiles/amphibians are just as susceptible to toxins (if not more) as gliders are

<hr /></blockquote><font class="post">

I would guess that the wild Sugar Glider would not be able to eat the decomposing flesh of say a rodent, but who knows....

I often think, the wild creatures, not just wild gliders and wild reptiles, but all creatures living in the wild, definitely live under different rules and circumstances, hence, different dietary supplements, what we would normally be worried about with our captive creatures, would not even be a concern of the wild ones....

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#85255 - 03/16/06 05:56 AM Re: aflatoxin in crickets? [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


From the posts here, one might get a different impression of aflatoxin cause and risk. A couple of thoughts:

Aflatoxin, a mycotoxin (fungal toxin) from Aspergillus flavus, is worldwide. A. flavus yields the name afla-toxin. It involves grains such as corn, wheat, maize, and rice. It can involve nuts including almonds, walnuts and coconuts. It can be found in seed oils like soybean and sunflower. Aflatoxin originally became known from a peanut exposure. It is also found in milk and other food products.

Aflatoxin is in all parts of the world and found in many climates, not just wet ones. It is estimated that 25% of the world food crops are involved with some level of it yearly. The issue is less one of presence or absence of aflatoxin, but it is more about how much and tolerable amounts. Our food products are tested. In developing countries the food sources may not be as rigorously tested. The greatest loss of food that doesn't pass inspection here is from peanut.

To avoid frozen corn doesn't make much sense. Picking crickets fed a different food doesn't preclude exposure.

I wonder if Fluker's or Grubco or any of the cricket farms would be better advised to test their bedding or crickets and prove absence of aflatoxin rather than have us worry about what bedding or cricket food they use. Corn product use does not automatically mean that the crickets are tainted.

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#85256 - 03/16/06 09:40 AM Re: aflatoxin in crickets? [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Ahhhh I just typed a super long post and I hit the submit button and it said it had expired, and the back button revealed a blank screen... *fuming* I'll have to retype it out later in the day.

BBL!

Mikey <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/dance.gif" alt="" />

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#85257 - 03/16/06 10:47 AM Re: aflatoxin in crickets? [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


Try doing long posts in a word document then just copy paste... also does spell check <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/thumb.gif" alt="" />

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#85258 - 03/16/06 09:51 PM Re: aflatoxin in crickets? [Re: ]
Anonymous
Unregistered


OK, well first I wanted to mention something about this:

</font><blockquote><font class="small">Quote:</font><hr />
Good point Mikey, but .......possibly amphibian deaths are not reported as the Glider deaths are, and the deaths of amphibians possibly attributed to by aflatoxin development have not had necropsy's done.... don't know.

<hr /></blockquote><font class="post">

Yes, cycy I thought about this too, but when you look at the more savvy herp enthusiasts who own some of the more expensive and rarer specimens, you will understand that they too have their animals undergo necropsies when they die mysteriously. I know that it's especially important for those keeping community vivaria, because the death of one individual could be the initial sign of something affecting the whole terrarium (e.g. a parasite, virus, etc) and responsible herps owners make it a point to nip any health problems in the [censored] early, so to preserve the other animals sharing the enclosure. I have several friends who have spent thousands upon thousands of dollars on a single lizard or dart frog, and would definitely have their animals examined after death by a vet. Herp necropsies are also done, and it's not out of the ordinary that they are done, and so as I said, you'd think that they'd have found aflatoxin poisoning through an ingested cricket in at least one herp by now, and have identified it as a potential danger and something to look out for in the herp community just as it is in the glider community, but for some reason it's not a big issue at all. This surprises me.

Now regarding what cycy and Charlie have mentioned about the herps having a tolerance to the aflatoxin... This was the other possibility I thought of, and in this thread I have been addressing reptiles/amphibians as a collective group for this discussion because there are many reptiles and amphibians (many that I've dealt with) that are quite sensitive to adverse diets just like gliders. It's why it's no surprise that you have all these herps that are dying from problems attributed to diet like bone calcium deficiency, Vitamin A toxicity, etc. With some herp species, if you don't get the diet just right, they die within days. Some of the more exotic species tend to be more diet sensitive than others (e.g. some of the smaller chameleon species). I suspect that if aflatoxin were present in these crickets, that it would have affected at least one if not many of the diet sensitive species in all these years of captive herp ownership.

Now it was brought up that komodos consume bacteria-ridden decomposong flesh safely, and I'm assuming that's due to the microflora in the komodo dragon's gut, but we're dealing with a toxin that naturally ends up in the liver and causes severe and lethal liver damage/cancer, as well as other physiological problems. I'm sure it's a possibility that the microflora in the gut of all these herps are able to somehow denature/deactivate/kill the aflatoxin/Aspergillus flavus, but all of them? Every species of amphibian and reptile in captivity? Doesn't that seem highly unlikely, in light of the many more sensitive herp feeders out there? Why hasn't there been a single case reported?

Here are 3 questions I was wondering for those that have had gliders die from aflatoxins (Ellen, Tom, anyone...):

1) What steps did the vet take to identify that the glider had died from aflatoxins and what were the symptoms that pointed to aflatoxin poisoning?
2) To what degree of certainty was it caused by aflatoxin?
3) Were any other possible causes suggested?

Mikey <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/dance.gif" alt="" />

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#85259 - 03/18/06 03:36 PM Re: aflatoxin in crickets? [Re: ]
Ellen Offline
Owner:Emeritus-Mother Hen

Registered: 08/05/99
Posts: 7603
Loc: Virginia Beach, VA.
The gliders we lost to Aflatoxins were without a doubt dx by several ways. But to answer your questions.
1)there were no symtoms until death.Necropsy's and H&P done on both gliders and cricket's bedding and crickets by 2 toxicoligist that showed posivtive.
2) there was NO degree of questioning by them due to the H&P and condition of the liver. Which shows a very deffinet patten of changes as opposed to liver damanage due to other or unknown causes.
3) after review of the bedding and crickets they all ruled out any other causes.

I had fed crickets for several years and did not seem to have a problem. I ordered from the same company and within a week I have lost 7 gliders. Bad batch? Don't know. Just know that the degree of injury to the livers was the worse thing Bruce and I had ever seen. (well not Bruce, but when he saw the livers at necropsy, which he sat in on he said at once that what he thought it was) It was then confirmed without a doubt a week later as I have described above.

I still have a couple of gliders left that were exposed as Joeys to those [censored] bugs and because of that they can get no extra protien for food or treats.

You said in one of your post you wanted to discredit the folks that are talking Aflatoxin injury and death. YOU will never be able to do that. No one will. There is too much info if you look into it as I did for several years to even doubt this could happen.

Edit: Excuse my spelling and passion on this subject but it is one that stabs at my heart every day of my life.


Edited by Ellen (03/18/06 03:38 PM)
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