Rescue beardy - need some advice!

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Rescue beardy - need some advice!

Postby Xafaeri » Tue Mar 01, 2016 5:04 pm

[TOPIC AUTO-LOCKED DUE TO INACTIVITY]

EDIT: To skip the background just read the bottom paragraph!

Hi everyone! I've been a lurker here! I am an educational animal presenter with an emphasis on conservation. I have near 100 animals (the joys of also being part of a previously family-run vet practice) birds, reptiles, inverts blah blah. Recently I was given a bearded dragon by a teacher that KNEW I was coming and wanted to get rid of teenage her son's "toy". Since this is exclusively a beardy central I came here to get your thoughts on some issues I've picked up on and not experienced before.

So she took me to the staff room where the tank was. It was TINY - not even a metre in width. She says her son has had the beardy a few years now but just ignores it and she's had enough. My heart sank into the deepest pit of my stomach. There was no light fixture at ALL. Just a heat-mat. And you guys know.. you see that and I'm suddenly sweating with what I'm about to see. :< I lift up the hide and I see this poor creature just lying there, dark, eyes closed :< She clearly is exhibiting minor symptoms/slight deformity as a result of MBD but surprisingly not as bad as I was expecting or have seen in the past by a long shot. Apparently they had lighting in the previous tank but half a year prior it hadn't quite caught fire but the wood had begun smouldering and smoked the tank and the lizard out. So she had freaked out, banned any lighting and her husband had built this crude piece of crap. Turns out they had only replaced the UV once in the past.... anyway. Not only was this lizard stunted, she was also missing HALF her tail. It's not even a clean slice - a well healed but messy stump. The woman had "no idea how that happened" which leads me to believe she had little to do with it or was lying. She didn't have a name for the lizard or even knew it's sex. Moving on... it was also practically EMACIATED. And had super long claws.

EURGH. OBVIOUSLY I 100% agreed to take it home with me after the workshop. So that night I made sure she had plenty of warmth and woke up the next morning early with some spare bulbs and UV. lo and behold the lizard is AWAKE. Her beardy (heh) eye is following me. But she is WEAK. Now force feeding is something I try to avoid as best as possible - but this one was easy. She (couldn't tell at this point her gender was so damned skinny + she's my FIRST beardy. I got tokays, leopards, chameleons and a bosc but never a beardy). She's ravenous and takes insects gladly. Phew. One hardy mofo. But she can't walk... at all. Literally... cannot walk. I was horrified.

Fast forward a month she's put on weight. Seen a vet - had a few "boosters" to help with her malnutrition and the usual routine stuff. Still have to handfeed - she turns her nose up at greens/veggies though. Supplements hard to get in her. Doesn't drink without a prompt. We done some water physio and "assisted" walking around.

Fast forward another month she's still too skinny but healthIER. She runs around like a NUTTER (balance/stride is iffy but she seems OK in herself). She's started climbing around too! Not the brightest button but lively, kind and a joy to have. But my problem?

She will ONLY handfeed -EVERTHING. She also will NOT EAT HER GREENS/VEGGIES! She has gotten better at drinking, however. I'm not sure if her previous owners offered her veggies? This is incredibly frustrating as you know I don't want to give her PTSD by ramming it down her gob or risk breaking teeth etc. She will eat the odd leaf every now and then (like one a week!) - and I've tried MANY MANY different "beardy" friendly greens in this period. OFC food is available in her tank daily. Originally she would only eat giant mealworms but has recently been accepting a wider variety of insects which is good. I'm trying to gutload them as much as possible. She point blank wont eat without a pair of tongs offering - but refuses her greens regardless. She also wont take pinkies. I'm gonna go ahead and assume this is all connected with her previous owners' "care".

So... sorry for the wall of text. But I'd be interested if any of you guys have experienced this dilemma or even have some ideas about how to move forward. Thanks x ps. will try get a picture off my mobile for you guys.
Xafaeri
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Re: Rescue beardy - need some advice!

Postby Drache613 » Tue Mar 01, 2016 7:34 pm

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Re: Rescue beardy - need some advice!

Postby Drache613 » Tue Mar 01, 2016 7:55 pm

Hello,

You have tons of animals! How do you manage, I hope you have some help.
Wow your new rescue has been through a lot, indeed! Do you have any pictures of her, just so we can see her condition? It is heart breaking to see any animal abused to such severe measures, it is completely unacceptable to me.
It sounds like she has gotten a little spoiled possibly & just wants to be hand fed. She is unable to walk at all, really? How sad. That is most likely why she wont attempt to feed herself very much, because she probably doesn't have very much energy. Can she chew very well?
Are you getting her on a liquid calcium to help out her stores? Which UVB light are you using?
I would give it time for her to eat greens/veggies on her own. I think if she can get to where she can walk & move around a little bit then she will start to eat on her own a little bit.
However, she may be a special needs lizard though, which will just take a little more patience & time for you but will be well worth it.

Looking forward to seeing pictures of her.

Tracie
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