The Story of How Hurc became my dragon

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The Story of How Hurc became my dragon

Postby MelissaDufreche » Wed Feb 26, 2020 3:08 pm

Hello, I am a newbie dragon parent. Here's the story of how we adopted an 8 year old Beardie for my daughter but now he's mine. Never in my life did I think I would love a reptile so much.
So we adopted Hurc last summer (Jun 2019) from a friend of my daughter. My daughter wanted a dragon so much and they were looking to re-home Hurc with his entire set up. It was my understanding that his primary caregiver was teenager and had "lost" interest. My daughter was the expert on bearded dragons as she cared for one at her school and would bring one one on holidays, summers, etc. I bought two books and was reading all the forums and posts about bearded dragons.
The day we brought Hurc home, my daughter said he was pretty thin but he ate everything she gave him. The second day, his eyes were bulging and crusted over from mucous. My oldest daughter is a registered vet tech and luckily there were two vets at her clinic with some exotic experience. The first few images are when he came home after 2 days in the hospital. Hurc was in bad shape he was severely dehydrated, had parasites was only 14 ounces (396g), and had this eye issue. Hurc had been roamer in the previous owners garage and was eating roaches and bugs he caught.
For the next month I fed him through a syringe critical care and gave him daily baths with electrolytes to help with hydration. He bonded to me, and would become active when he heard my voice. By the end of August he was weighing 19.65 ounces (557g) eating on his own and looking so much better. The 4 picture collage shows his progress.
But the eye issue he had continues to plague him. One of his eyes will bulge and ooze, even when he is not shedding, and then it gets better. We take him outside when weather permits and he gets direct sunlight, and he seems to do well on these days. But even when his eye is "doing good" it still doesn't look normal. The close up is of the same eye on the same day. I am hoping someone else has seen something like this or can offer some advice.
Habitat: 40 gallon with a 160 watt mercury UVB and 100 watt basking light (100F temp) and his hammock is on the cool end at 85F. There is ceramic tile and no sand or other substrate. I cut the cord on that hot rock so it is not functional.. its just a rock.
Diet: Super worms and collards, squash, dandelion greens - He is SUPER picky will not eat crickets. I ordered phoenix worms and I am hoping he will like them.
We are in the process of building him a new house with inside dimensions 54 inches x 24 inches with a 48inch T8 UVB light, basking area etc. He gets regular outside sunlight on non rainy days.
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MelissaDufreche
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Re: The Story of How Hurc became my dragon

Postby CooperDragon » Thu Feb 27, 2020 2:11 pm

Welcome to the forum! He is looking much healthier overall and has a nice bright orange beard. I'm glad you were able to take him in and nurse him back to health. Has your vet done any blood work? Sometimes swelling in the eyes can be caused by kidney issues which may be revealed in blood test results. It is also possible the eyes are infected with something. Sometimes their eyes can be bulged out like that due to genetics, but it's not good that it keeps closing or forming mucous crusts.
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Re: The Story of How Hurc became my dragon

Postby AHBD » Thu Feb 27, 2020 2:21 pm

Hi there, welcome to you + Hurc ! Nice to see that he's getting good care now, it sounds like his previous owners thought he was the equivalent of a barn cat and would feed himself on wild bugs out in the garage. I have a suggestion for his eye. Get some raw unpasteurized honey , like from a farmer's market, beekeeper or health store. Mix some with a tiny amount of warm water and apply it a couple times a day. It's a natural antimicrobial and worked well on 2 of my dragons that had eye problems.

I just want to mention that his weight is actually getting up kind of high now so I'd suggest cutting out at least one insect feeding per week. Beardies are not meant to be built like tegus and we see so many very chunky dragons that it seems the norm but they are much better off if they are on the lean side. A fat dragon will not be a healthy dragon, especially as they get older.

I also was wondering how you are measuring your temps. You say that you have a 150 watt and a 100 watt both for heat in a 40 gallon tank ? That seems like a lot but maybe it's cold where you live. Anyway, hope that Hurc can get over his eye problem + be as happy + healthy as possible. :)
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Re: The Story of How Hurc became my dragon

Postby Claudiusx » Sat Feb 29, 2020 9:31 am

Welcome to the site!

You have done a great job with Hurc.

Hope you will keep us updated on how he's doing :)

-Brandon
Follow along with all my beardies. Check out my thread here!: Claud's Crew
P.S. We have lots of pictures ;)
Click here if you use a Sunblaster fixture - IMPORTANT
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Re: The Story of How Hurc became my dragon

Postby MelissaDufreche » Mon Mar 02, 2020 12:16 pm

Thank you and apologies for my delay in responding. At his recent vet visit, they were able to get some blood work done and we are waiting for the results. They were able to take a swab of the mucous in his eye and it had some bacteria but the eye medications we used did not work in the past. I am going to try the honey, I plan on buying this at the local farmers market.
As for his temperatures I removed the top screen to prevent blocking his UVB light and I use a infared temp gun to measure the tank. This is temporary enclosure, we are currently building him a dragon penthouse. The reason for the two lights is to help keep temps up, if it gets cold at night I will turn on his CHE.
So his weight! :D I guess he was so sickly before, we could feel almost every bone in his body. I was so focused on him getting nourishment and some weight on him, I didn't realize he had gained so much weight. I was looking at other dragons and trying to compare size versus weight to get a good idea of an ideal weight. Even the vet mentioned his weight and said to watch his feedings because he was getting chunky. Hurc is very stubborn and I have to work hard to get him to eat veggies. He also struggles with dehydration, it has been a continuous battle to keep him hydrated. He is given soaks almost daily and offered water. I
I recently purchased some Phoenix worms for Hurc and a new baby beardie I bought at Petco. I went in to buy superworms for Hurc, and I had no intentions of buying another dragon, but this baby has eyebrows. They are in separate tanks and I do not touch either one without washing my hands. I named him Maui (from the movie Moana) I really wanted to name him Dwayne "The Beardie" Johnson but I can't tell the sex yet. Little Guy is really fast and I will get some pics for sexing when Maui is better about being handled. Thank you for the welcome and the tip for Hurc's Eye Issue. I will post about his blood work when it comes back.
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Re: The Story of How Hurc became my dragon

Postby AHBD » Mon Mar 02, 2020 12:24 pm

Good to hear the updates and the new addition to the family ! Maui's middle name can be Dwayne, it kind of has a cool ring to it. :) As soon as you can handle Maui enough to arch the tail up for a few good pics I can probably tell you the gender.
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Re: The Story of How Hurc became my dragon

Postby MelissaDufreche » Tue Mar 03, 2020 8:23 am

AHBD wrote:Good to hear the updates and the new addition to the family ! Maui's middle name can be Dwayne, it kind of has a cool ring to it. :) As soon as you can handle Maui enough to arch the tail up for a few good pics I can probably tell you the gender.

LOL I love it I really like Maui Dwayne. Little Maui willingly let me hold him for a about 15 seconds then jumped off. So we are getting there slowly but surely.

I made Hurc an appointment this Thursday with another vet that does avians, reptiles and ferrets, just to get a second opinion on eyes and hydration. I will update you guys on how it went.
Thanks!
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Re: The Story of How Hurc became my dragon

Postby MelissaDufreche » Tue Mar 03, 2020 6:40 pm

AHBD wrote:Hi there, welcome to you + Hurc ! Nice to see that he's getting good care now, it sounds like his previous owners thought he was the equivalent of a barn cat and would feed himself on wild bugs out in the garage. I have a suggestion for his eye. Get some raw unpasteurized honey , like from a farmer's market, beekeeper or health store. Mix some with a tiny amount of warm water and apply it a couple times a day. It's a natural antimicrobial and worked well on 2 of my dragons that had eye problems.

I just want to mention that his weight is actually getting up kind of high now so I'd suggest cutting out at least one insect feeding per week. Beardies are not meant to be built like tegus and we see so many very chunky dragons that it seems the norm but they are much better off if they are on the lean side. A fat dragon will not be a healthy dragon, especially as they get older.

I also was wondering how you are measuring your temps. You say that you have a 150 watt and a 100 watt both for heat in a 40 gallon tank ? That seems like a lot but maybe it's cold where you live. Anyway, hope that Hurc can get over his eye problem + be as happy + healthy as possible. :)


Hi AHBD,
So I tried the honey today, but as I was applying the honey/warm water mixture I was unsure how thick should the mixture be, should it be watery? Do I coat the just the eye opening or the entire lid. I have never applied anything like this to any dragon or any of my other furry kids. I will check the forum and online but any guidance is greatly appreciated.
Thanks Mel
MelissaDufreche
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Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Feb 17, 2020 1:52 pm
Location: Louisiana

Re: The Story of How Hurc became my dragon

Postby MelissaDufreche » Tue Mar 03, 2020 7:47 pm

CooperDragon wrote:Welcome to the forum! He is looking much healthier overall and has a nice bright orange beard. I'm glad you were able to take him in and nurse him back to health. Has your vet done any blood work? Sometimes swelling in the eyes can be caused by kidney issues which may be revealed in blood test results. It is also possible the eyes are infected with something. Sometimes their eyes can be bulged out like that due to genetics, but it's not good that it keeps closing or forming mucous crusts.

Hi, So we got our bloodwork back on Hurc. It was a Reptilian Comprehensive Chemistries
Result [Range (shown in brackets) ]
Total Protein 7.7 (High) [Total Protein 3.3-7.3 g/dL]
Albumin 3.8 (High) [Albumin 1.5-3.7 g/dL]
Globulin 3.9 [Globulin 1.3-3.9 g/dL]
AST (SGOT) 71 [AST (SGOT) 3-75 IU/L]
BUN 7 (High) [BUN 1-4 mg/dL]
Phosphorus 23.1 (High) [Phosphorus 2.3-9.4mg/dL]
Calcium 18.8 [Calcium 6.8-22.7 mg/dL]
Sodium 163 [ Sodium 143-173 mEq/L]
Potassium 11.5 (High) [Potassium 2.6-6.1 mEq/L]
Chloride 123 [Chloride 103-145 mEq/L ]
CPK 1,805 [CPK 17-3,421 IU/L]
Uric Acid 7.2 [Uric Acid 1.2-8.4 mg/dL]
Comments : Albumin may be falsely elevated due to a Lipemia 2+ and could be in the Normal Range

Vet is saying possibly MBD and Kidney Disease . Please remember Hurc was adopted 8 months ago, he was emaciated and very ill.
MelissaDufreche
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