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Selling diseased animals

Godins Chinchillas

Godin's Chinchillas
Joined
Jan 30, 2009
Messages
1,389
Location
Albany, NY
Thanks Kiss-

Keep us posted how your treatment goes. I've talked to Hubby about it at great length. It's definately something I am going to watch for. Knock on wood I am not seeing it here but if we do I think we will have a better handle on it.
 

choob99

Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2014
Messages
22
Kiss I applaud you for coming forward with the info, and its great that you are doing everything right (no selling, not showing, testing, comparing results, etc) The problem I have and we should all have with this whole thing is.....Kiss got it from somewhere, is the person she got if from still selling or showing or treating or whatever? we don't know. and how about where that person got it from? same questions there, we don't know the answers, the problem here is, its obviously very resistant to treatment and can keep coming back so how many carriers are out there right now?? Another question we can't answer, and I realize all these things take time and research and testing to figure out, but aside from that there are so many other variables that we can't even calculate due to the fact that we don't know what OTHER breeders are doing, Kiss is doing the right thing, but what about the whole line of them that it took to get to her???? and what about everyone else that whole line has sold to or shown beside or whatever the case may be?? We aren't at an epidemic here yet, however the concern is very real and very widespread about just how many of us are in posession of carriers?? I'm very worried for the state of the whole Chin community right now because of all these unknown variables.
 

Pookinaround

FUZZ BUTT ENTHUSIAST
Joined
May 20, 2012
Messages
758
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
That is why my herd is now closed and you couldn't pay me to go to a show right now. I am sure others might feel differently but this is JMHO... (or not so humble... ;) however you want to look at it...)
 

KissThis

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 22, 2010
Messages
65
Kiss I applaud you for coming forward with the info, and its great that you are doing everything right (no selling, not showing, testing, comparing results, etc) The problem I have and we should all have with this whole thing is.....Kiss got it from somewhere, is the person she got if from still selling or showing or treating or whatever? we don't know. and how about where that person got it from? same questions there, we don't know the answers, the problem here is, its obviously very resistant to treatment and can keep coming back so how many carriers are out there right now?? Another question we can't answer, and I realize all these things take time and research and testing to figure out, but aside from that there are so many other variables that we can't even calculate due to the fact that we don't know what OTHER breeders are doing, Kiss is doing the right thing, but what about the whole line of them that it took to get to her???? and what about everyone else that whole line has sold to or shown beside or whatever the case may be?? We aren't at an epidemic here yet, however the concern is very real and very widespread about just how many of us are in posession of carriers?? I'm very worried for the state of the whole Chin community right now because of all these unknown variables.
Choob99, I think at this point we are all better served by trying to find the best treatment and make sure everyone has access to the information they need rather than trying to point fingers or assign blame. I know which breeder I got it from and I am pretty sure I know which breeder that breeder got it from, but I am not going to be party to ruining anyone's reputation or casting doubt on anyone's herd. I will not post this information anywhere. Rebuilding the reputation of my herd will take long enough, I will not inflict that on anyone else. Despite all of the attaboys I have gotten here, how many people here would be willing to buy an animal from my herd within the next year knowing that this has been in my herd? I have a feeling that most people would have to think really hard about it first and would then likely hold off a year or two waiting to see if this comes back. This fear and lack of understanding will do far more harm to people's herd and the chinchilla industry than this disease ever will.

A lot of the ranchers, both old and new, have been talking privately and comparing notes, so the number of unknowns is decreasing. Ideally the scientist in me would like to know how this all started, but really as long as we know how it is passed and how to treat it, we are fine.

I would like to remind everyone that I am not a vet. I have a PhD in chemistry with a strong background in biochemistry and molecular biology. I am working closely with my vet and spending large amounts of time reading all of the veterinary literature and microbiology literature that is even slightly related that I can find. My goal is to share my findings for the literature searches and my personal experiences with my herd with the rest of the chinchilla industry.

Right now it looks like the term carrier with respect to this disease is a bit confusing. Horses can be carriers of the strep equi sub equi bacteria (as opposed to strep equi sub zoo which we are dealing with) in their guttural pouch. Chinchillas don't have a guttural pouch or any similar structure that makes a good place for bacteria to lay dormant. Instead it is likely that some chins have a low level infection that don't show any symptoms and then when the chin with the low level infection is stressed the bacteria is allowed to multiply and is shed, at which point other chinchillas pick it up. The chin with the low level infection often doesn't show any signs, even when stressed because their system has learned to deal with the bacteria, though hasn't managed to completely rid itself of it. Not all of the chins exposed to this or even that have had this are "carriers" or have a low level infection. I think, and at this point it is purely my opinion, that it is likely that the chinchillas that just develop the goopy, pus filled eye or eyes are the ones more likely to continue to have a low level infection and so act like the "carriers" that everyone is worried about. In my herd some of the chins that get just the goopy eyes are the hardest to clear up and often re-occur whereas those that get the abscesses don't. I have not yet had a chin that abscessed and then healed show up with another abscess, even when caged with another animal that is contagious at a later date. The chins with the goopy eyes often do re-occur, some times months after I thought it was cleared up and usually after something has stressed them. So to summarize, some chins pick up this bacteria and develop this disease and then are fine having cleared their system of bacteria and they may be immune to getting this again, while others develop the disease and appear to recover but never completely rid their system of this bacteria so it can flare up again later or be shed to other chins.

Now for the good news, all of the chins with abscesses in my herd that I treated with gentamicin subcutaneously have completely recovered. The abscesses, including those that were big enough that they would normally be lanced and drained have completely disappeared. The abscesses that I left untreated as a control increased in size and eventually ruptured themselves, these chins have recovered just fine, but it took much longer than the ones treated with gentamicin. Unfortunately treating with the gentamicin in the water did not work, the chins won't drink it even with apple juice or other flavoring added. I did have 2 that have had the re-occurant goopy eyes die, sadly they were two of my sapphires. I have not yet lost any chin that has had only the abscess, the goopy eyes seems to be the bigger problem. Since it is impossible to tell which chins have a low level infection or have not yet started showing signs of sickness, I treated my whole herd with the gentamicin at the beginning of this week and so far I am very happy with the results. To make it easy for those that don't want to read my novel the treatment I used was as follows, a rationalization follows:

Treatment:
chinchillas not showing any signs or symptoms - one dose of gentamicin, ~20mg/kg subcutaneously

chinchillas with abscess only - 4 days of once a day dose of gentamicin, ~10mg/kg subcutaneously (small abscesses are left alone, large abscesses are drained and cleaned daily as needed)

chinchillas with goopy eyes with or without abscess - 4 days of once a day dose of gentamicin, ~10mg/kg subcutaneously + gentamicin eye ointment once a day until after the eye has cleared up completely

Rational:
Since it is impossible to tell chins with a low level infection from those without the single large dose of gentamicin was given to all of the animals in my herd and will likely be given to any new animals I purchase before I bring them into my herd. As long as the chinchilla is not showing symptoms it is likely that the level of strep equi sub zoo is low and so can easily be treated by a single large dose of gentamicin. Gentamicin is a concentration toxin to bacteria instead of an exposure toxin, so it is reasonable to treat low levels of infection with a single large dose.

Chins with abscesses, the level of bacteria in their system is higher than those that have a low level infection and show no symptoms so they need a longer term dosage of gentamicin. There is some concern with liver damage when using gentamicin so the duration used should be the minimum that is effective. Liver damage generally occurs when gentamicin is used daily or twice daily for more than a week or when the animal is severely dehydrated. In literature and in horses it has been shown that using a slightly higher dosage for a shorter time is just as effective as using lower dosage for longer, which is why I am using ~10mg/kg for 4 days as opposed to the ~5mg/kg once or twice a day for a week that is often suggested for chinchillas.

Chins with goopy eyes, the subcutaneously gentamicin alone does not always completely clear up the goopy eyes. So far in my herd and one other that I know of the subcutaneous treatment only completely cleared up about half of the cases of goopy eyes, the others improved significantly but didn't clear up completely. It is possible that the bacteria is infecting the tear duct, making it harder to remove completely. This is why I am adding the gentamicin eye ointment to the subcutaneous gentamicin treatment. So far this seems to be working, but I have not yet been treating long enough to have a definitive answer. I will update as I get more results.

The other piece to the puzzle is removing the bacteria from the environment so the chins don't re-infect themselves. Cages, especially those with chins that have draining abscesses and goopy eyes need to be sterilized. There are a few different methods that have been used by various ranchers. Some that I have heard or used are rinsing/spraying with a bleach solution, a Nolvasan solution, or rubbing alcohol. Another method that I am experimenting with to sterilize cages that contain wooden structural elements is treatment with germicidal UV. UV treatment is well established in the biochemistry/molecular biology world, but I have yet to demonstrate conclusively in my setting that it is effective. Again, I will update as I have solid evidence for effectiveness.

While this bug is a huge pain, it does not need to destroy herds, the chinchilla industry, or shows. I do not think that it is likely to pass through casual contact with animals with a low level infection like you could possibly have at shows. As long as no one shows up with a chin with an abscess that is actively draining or a chin with pus filled eyes, I don't think there is much danger. Knowing what I know now, if this were not in my herd I would not hesitate to show my animals at any show. Please do not let fear, misinformation, or rumor cause more harm to our industry than it already has. Feel free to ask me questions here or via PM, I will do my best to answer them.

I will be writing this up for both ECBC and MCBA with all of the details and references that I have once I have a few more answers and some more data.
 

6Dusters

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 31, 2009
Messages
1,813
Location
Richmond Virginia
Thanks for the further update Kiss. I sent the original information to all three of my exotic vets I use. One was kind enough to send me a thank you. I will continue to send them the updates as you post.

Best of luck with the chins.
 

KissThis

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 22, 2010
Messages
65
Kiss This

YOU are TALL!! :)
Saphire, not sure I would say tall, definitely on my high horse. Sorry. The finger pointing just really annoys me.

I can assure you that the breeder I got this infection for and the breeder that breeder most likely got it from are not currently selling animals.
 

choob99

Member
Joined
Jan 17, 2014
Messages
22
Choob99, I think at this point we are all better served by trying to find the best treatment and make sure everyone has access to the information they need rather than trying to point fingers or assign blame. I know which breeder I got it from and I am pretty sure I know which breeder that breeder got it from, but I am not going to be party to ruining anyone's reputation or casting doubt on anyone's herd. I will not post this information anywhere. Rebuilding the reputation of my herd will take long enough, I will not inflict that on anyone else. Despite all of the attaboys I have gotten here, how many people here would be willing to buy an animal from my herd within the next year knowing that this has been in my herd? I have a feeling that most people would have to think really hard about it first and would then likely hold off a year or two waiting to see if this comes back. This fear and lack of understanding will do far more harm to people's herd and the chinchilla industry than this disease ever will.

A lot of the ranchers, both old and new, have been talking privately and comparing notes, so the number of unknowns is decreasing. Ideally the scientist in me would like to know how this all started, but really as long as we know how it is passed and how to treat it, we are fine.

I would like to remind everyone that I am not a vet. I have a PhD in chemistry with a strong background in biochemistry and molecular biology. I am working closely with my vet and spending large amounts of time reading all of the veterinary literature and microbiology literature that is even slightly related that I can find. My goal is to share my findings for the literature searches and my personal experiences with my herd with the rest of the chinchilla industry.

Right now it looks like the term carrier with respect to this disease is a bit confusing. Horses can be carriers of the strep equi sub equi bacteria (as opposed to strep equi sub zoo which we are dealing with) in their guttural pouch. Chinchillas don't have a guttural pouch or any similar structure that makes a good place for bacteria to lay dormant. Instead it is likely that some chins have a low level infection that don't show any symptoms and then when the chin with the low level infection is stressed the bacteria is allowed to multiply and is shed, at which point other chinchillas pick it up. The chin with the low level infection often doesn't show any signs, even when stressed because their system has learned to deal with the bacteria, though hasn't managed to completely rid itself of it. Not all of the chins exposed to this or even that have had this are "carriers" or have a low level infection. I think, and at this point it is purely my opinion, that it is likely that the chinchillas that just develop the goopy, pus filled eye or eyes are the ones more likely to continue to have a low level infection and so act like the "carriers" that everyone is worried about. In my herd some of the chins that get just the goopy eyes are the hardest to clear up and often re-occur whereas those that get the abscesses don't. I have not yet had a chin that abscessed and then healed show up with another abscess, even when caged with another animal that is contagious at a later date. The chins with the goopy eyes often do re-occur, some times months after I thought it was cleared up and usually after something has stressed them. So to summarize, some chins pick up this bacteria and develop this disease and then are fine having cleared their system of bacteria and they may be immune to getting this again, while others develop the disease and appear to recover but never completely rid their system of this bacteria so it can flare up again later or be shed to other chins.

Now for the good news, all of the chins with abscesses in my herd that I treated with gentamicin subcutaneously have completely recovered. The abscesses, including those that were big enough that they would normally be lanced and drained have completely disappeared. The abscesses that I left untreated as a control increased in size and eventually ruptured themselves, these chins have recovered just fine, but it took much longer than the ones treated with gentamicin. Unfortunately treating with the gentamicin in the water did not work, the chins won't drink it even with apple juice or other flavoring added. I did have 2 that have had the re-occurant goopy eyes die, sadly they were two of my sapphires. I have not yet lost any chin that has had only the abscess, the goopy eyes seems to be the bigger problem. Since it is impossible to tell which chins have a low level infection or have not yet started showing signs of sickness, I treated my whole herd with the gentamicin at the beginning of this week and so far I am very happy with the results. To make it easy for those that don't want to read my novel the treatment I used was as follows, a rationalization follows:

Treatment:
chinchillas not showing any signs or symptoms - one dose of gentamicin, ~20mg/kg subcutaneously

chinchillas with abscess only - 4 days of once a day dose of gentamicin, ~10mg/kg subcutaneously (small abscesses are left alone, large abscesses are drained and cleaned daily as needed)

chinchillas with goopy eyes with or without abscess - 4 days of once a day dose of gentamicin, ~10mg/kg subcutaneously + gentamicin eye ointment once a day until after the eye has cleared up completely

Rational:
Since it is impossible to tell chins with a low level infection from those without the single large dose of gentamicin was given to all of the animals in my herd and will likely be given to any new animals I purchase before I bring them into my herd. As long as the chinchilla is not showing symptoms it is likely that the level of strep equi sub zoo is low and so can easily be treated by a single large dose of gentamicin. Gentamicin is a concentration toxin to bacteria instead of an exposure toxin, so it is reasonable to treat low levels of infection with a single large dose.

Chins with abscesses, the level of bacteria in their system is higher than those that have a low level infection and show no symptoms so they need a longer term dosage of gentamicin. There is some concern with liver damage when using gentamicin so the duration used should be the minimum that is effective. Liver damage generally occurs when gentamicin is used daily or twice daily for more than a week or when the animal is severely dehydrated. In literature and in horses it has been shown that using a slightly higher dosage for a shorter time is just as effective as using lower dosage for longer, which is why I am using ~10mg/kg for 4 days as opposed to the ~5mg/kg once or twice a day for a week that is often suggested for chinchillas.

Chins with goopy eyes, the subcutaneously gentamicin alone does not always completely clear up the goopy eyes. So far in my herd and one other that I know of the subcutaneous treatment only completely cleared up about half of the cases of goopy eyes, the others improved significantly but didn't clear up completely. It is possible that the bacteria is infecting the tear duct, making it harder to remove completely. This is why I am adding the gentamicin eye ointment to the subcutaneous gentamicin treatment. So far this seems to be working, but I have not yet been treating long enough to have a definitive answer. I will update as I get more results.

The other piece to the puzzle is removing the bacteria from the environment so the chins don't re-infect themselves. Cages, especially those with chins that have draining abscesses and goopy eyes need to be sterilized. There are a few different methods that have been used by various ranchers. Some that I have heard or used are rinsing/spraying with a bleach solution, a Nolvasan solution, or rubbing alcohol. Another method that I am experimenting with to sterilize cages that contain wooden structural elements is treatment with germicidal UV. UV treatment is well established in the biochemistry/molecular biology world, but I have yet to demonstrate conclusively in my setting that it is effective. Again, I will update as I have solid evidence for effectiveness.

While this bug is a huge pain, it does not need to destroy herds, the chinchilla industry, or shows. I do not think that it is likely to pass through casual contact with animals with a low level infection like you could possibly have at shows. As long as no one shows up with a chin with an abscess that is actively draining or a chin with pus filled eyes, I don't think there is much danger. Knowing what I know now, if this were not in my herd I would not hesitate to show my animals at any show. Please do not let fear, misinformation, or rumor cause more harm to our industry than it already has. Feel free to ask me questions here or via PM, I will do my best to answer them.

I will be writing this up for both ECBC and MCBA with all of the details and references that I have once I have a few more answers and some more data.



Thanks for the updated info.....however you COMPLETELY missed my point, I NEVER finger pointed at anyone, that was NOT the point of my response at all and I take offense at you calling me a finger pointer. My point was we can't trace this to where it came from, its IMPOSSIBLE, I NEVER said I blamed someone, I was simply pointing out all of the unknown variables and pointing out that we have no way to trace anything and the questions will always go unanswered about where things are coming from. If you had read my response you would have seen what my overall point was....talk about being annoyed, I'm annoyed at you name calling me all for trying to make a simple point that the unknown variables are large and wide and we will never have answers to a lot of our questions
 

saphire

Christiane's Chinchillas
Joined
Jul 4, 2009
Messages
1,954
Location
Montréal, Québec
KissThis, I think that if you are out there and sharing this, not selling animals, to me you are a big person.

And happy to hear that the other breeders in the same situation are doing the same as you as far as not selling animals.

I am in total agreement with you as far as finger pointing.
 

KissThis

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 22, 2010
Messages
65
Thanks saphire, I misunderstood what you were saying. Thanks for the clarification.
 

Narcissus

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 4, 2010
Messages
510
Location
idaho
Kiss this- you are doing amazing work! I was able to hear you speak at the California show and I must say you are brilliant! I look forward to more information!
 

saphire

Christiane's Chinchillas
Joined
Jul 4, 2009
Messages
1,954
Location
Montréal, Québec
I know KissThis
I also know that being french, I write in english and come up with french sayings and the reserve is true as well.
:hair: for me at times. :)
 

Sue

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 30, 2009
Messages
280
Location
Sammamish, WA
choob99 and everyone, I think what we all need to remember is that bacteria and viruses are all around us. We need to take precautions but also follow good husbandry. Wherever Kiss got this from, we could be next if someone else isn't being proactive. But (and this is just me) no one does any good by saying they're debating about something but also keeping it veiled in secrecy. I just think we need to stop that, that only inflames people, it doesn't help.
 
Last edited:

Lynn & The Chins

The Chinchilla WhisKerer
Joined
Jan 29, 2009
Messages
2,240
Location
Denver, CO
I agree with Narcissus. I, too, was fortunate to hear her presentation at the California Show and was awed by her willingness to share the fact that she personally had this in her herd, her intelligence and the research/work she has done with regard to this disease, and her willingness to share this valuable information freely with all who are interested. Besides publishing this information in both the ECBC and MCBA magazines, I see a published paper, possibly in The Annals of Veterinarian Medicine, in her future!!!

People like her are the future of the chinchilla industry. It truly is up to the young ranchers to get educated and align themselves with intelligent, educated people who value truth and correct information over the whispering and gossiping that, I'm sure, is rampant in every group of animial breeders, not just exclusively the chinchilla community.

BRAVO!!! :clap:
 

tunes

Administrator/Owner
Staff member
Admin
Joined
Jan 28, 2009
Messages
9,923
Location
South Dakota
choob99 - The quickest thing on the planet to get all of us to completely ignore you IS TO SCREAM AT PEOPLE IN CAPITAL LETTERS. We're not interested in histrionics. If you want to ask a question, ask. If you don't feel that it has been answered fully, ask for clarification or contact the person via pm. Not only is the person who has the issue in this thread not going to post who it is, but we would not allow anyone to do it. We will not open this forum up to the possible consequences.
 

chinchillachris

Student of my chinchillas
Joined
Aug 29, 2013
Messages
80
I think we can give most breeders the benefit of the doubt and say that if they sold one of the animals with the sickness, they most likely didn't know the animal they were selling and/or breeding had the disease. However, if a breeder was intentionally selling and breeding sick animals, then that would definitely be unacceptable.
If only someone could start something like an online database or registry where breeders who found out their chins has the disease could alert other people. That way, everyone who bought from that breeder could be prepared for when/if their chin develops the disease. For example, it's like when a human has pertussis (whooping cough). Out of common courtesy, you're supposed to alert people who you've be near that you developed the sickness so that they can be prepared just in case they develop it too. Sure you may get some hate from some people, but in the end you're the bigger person for coming out and acknowledging the problem for the sake of the community. I also must say, I think it would be wrong for anyone to "take matters into their own hands" and try to start "outing" breeders whom they think sell the sick animals. I think it should be the breeders responsibility to alert people themselves. By the way, I don't think Choob was advocating for witch hunts, I just think she was frustrated (like all of us are) that we don't know where the problem started from, and that the problem may be more widespread than what we suspect :)
 

KissThis

Well-known member
Joined
Jan 22, 2010
Messages
65
Choob99, I am sorry if I misinterpreted your post. To me it seemed like you were wanting people to post names and where it started. You are correct, there are a lot of variables that we don't know. The best we can do is figure out as many variables as we can and design experiments that minimize the variables to the best of our ability. This is why I tried several different gentamicin treatment routes in my herd so that I could control the experiment to the best of my ability. This meant that it took me longer to treat some of the animals because some of the treatments were less effective than others, but it did give me a lot more information on what would or would not work which to me is invaluable.

Lynn, thank you for the praise and kind words. While I have done the best I can with controls my research is definitely not rigorous enough to publish in at veterinary journal. My sample size for one thing is too small. If anyone wants to collect more data and write it up I would be happy to supply data and information.

ChinchillaChris, I agree that breeders that find this in their herd should warn buyers that they are now seeing this in their herd. But all a database would do is create a do not buy list. I seriously doubt anyone on this board would buy animals from me now or even in a year from now even if I had exactly what they wanted at a cheap price because they would worry about this bug. And that would be even after I get this all cleared up. This would ruin many many breeders and while it would start with the best intention it would end up a witch hunt. One other problem is that people are having this show up many months after bringing in a new animal so it is hard to say at which point they may be passing this on to others. That is part of what is making this such a pain.

I am now finding out that other people are having varying degrees of luck treating their herds with antibiotics other than gentamicin, which is great. This bacteria should be treatable by a variety of antibiotics. I do not yet have the details of these treatments, just that others have had some good results with them. If I get details I will share them. For those that are trying to treat this, pick one treatment and try it and if it doesn't work for you know that there are others available. The biggest thing is keep good notes so you know what you tried on which animals and what you saw.

I am happy to help answer any questions I can. I am debating going to the ecbc national show, without animals, if I do so I would be happy to answer questions in person like I did for the CA state show. So far things are improving in my herd so I am hopeful that the gentamicin treatment is one answer.
 

AZChins

Pro Cage Cleaner Champion
Joined
May 18, 2009
Messages
5,726
Location
Sahuarita, Arizona (a half hour south of Tucson)
I hope that the gentamicin ends up being a good treatment for this. It would be something that we could all keep on hand just in case it pops up and keep it from spreading...I keep other drugs and treatments here in case I need them so why not another drug. :)

As far as side effects go, I think Gentamicin isn't really all that hard on chins. So, maybe chins that are brought from shows could be treated preemptively? That may be something for people to think about.

I'm hoping that your herd gets well and you can rid yourself of this horrible bacteria. I feel so bad for you that you feel like you won't be able to sell your chins. It's very kind of you to step up and talk about it to help others.
 

saphire

Christiane's Chinchillas
Joined
Jul 4, 2009
Messages
1,954
Location
Montréal, Québec
Ditto to what Susan said.

I personnally don't care where it came from. I just want to know that all will be okay in the end.

What I ask of a breeder that sells to me is; if a health issue arises in their herd not long after I have bought from them, I be told asap of the situation.(reasonable time say up to 2 months) I will only respect you more for it and this way, I can keep an eye out for the issue and react to it asap or prevent it if it is applicable.
 

ticklechin

Well-known member
Joined
Apr 14, 2009
Messages
8,087
Location
modesto CA
:clap1:Exactly!
I personnally don't care where it came from. I just want to know that all will be okay in the end.

What I ask of a breeder that sells to me is; if a health issue arises in their herd not long after I have bought from them, I be told asap of the situation.(reasonable time say up to 2 months) I will only respect you more for it and this way, I can keep an eye out for the issue and react to it asap or prevent it if it is applicable.
 
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