End of life?

This forum is for urgent health concerns, where your beardie seems very ill and you need immediate help!

End of life?

Postby ian37 » Tue Jun 07, 2011 6:55 pm

[TOPIC AUTO-LOCKED DUE TO INACTIVITY]

Folks,

My dragon seems to be very seriously on the decline. He's a rescue pet - the previous owners almost totally neglected him for the first couple of years of his life. He's now nearly 10, but looks like he won't last very long at all. He was very active up until last september, when he had a fall after leaping from my wife's lap, and suffering a break between the end of his back and his tail.

His back end was very slow to recover after that. But then he had a further setback with an abscess on his gum, which is now cured (multiple visits to specialist vet), and has gone into a severe decline since.

He doesn't move at all any more. Moves his head, pulses his throat quite a lot, but that's the extent of what he'll do. Won't eat anymore either by himself. He'll accept feeding from my wife (who nursed him back to life after the original owners almost let him die, 8 years ago). But only vegetables now, he won't even be fed small crickets. Just spits them out.

The vet diagnosed liver problems following blood tests, and he's been having medicine with the vegetables for a couple of weeks now. It doesn't seem to be helping.

He sleeps most of the time, and doesn't move at all, apart from when we bring him out to be fed. I'm probably asking the damned obvious, but is this it? Is there nothing more we can do for him, but watch him slip away now?
ian37
Newbie Poster
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2011 6:42 pm
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Re: End of life?

Postby beardie parents » Tue Jun 07, 2011 7:10 pm

I'm sorry about that. I understand how you feel. It's hard to watch them go down hill. Be assured, you've done a good job with him because you've kept him alive for 8 years after he was badly taken care of. 10 years is a good age for a beardie. There are some that are better taken care of the first two years of their lives that die within 4 to 8 years of age.

That being said, you may be right, it could be the end of his life and that's hard to watch, but he may survive. Some beardies have lasted for 11+ years. I wish I could offer you some hope but I haven't had a single beardie that long. The first four we had for just under 2 years. We've only had Goldie and Rosie for just over 2.5 years, they are about 3 now.
User avatar
beardie parents
BD.org Sicko
 
Posts: 10927
Joined: Fri Apr 20, 2007 1:24 pm
Location: Southern Arizona

Re: End of life?

Postby ian37 » Tue Jun 07, 2011 7:18 pm

Thanks Beardie Parents... it's so hard to watch though. For about four years, he wouldn't accept any food unless it was hand fed by my wife. She used to sit with him for hours, saying, "Please eat, draggy - please eat" - it wasn't nice, but she just about force-fed him crickets until he eventually recovered. When he started eating them on his own we were so delighted.

How long is he likely to last, in this final stage? He seems to have given up moving at all, just stays wherever we put him. We place him in spots he always liked - the water bowl sometimes, his heating rock, on woodchips and particularly on the cork log he seemed to prefer most of the time. He might only be 9, the original owners weren't entirely sure (if you can believe it).

This end stage - if that's what we have to accept it as being - is really hard to take. I just wonder how long he has left, and if there's anything more we can do. Thanks.
ian37
Newbie Poster
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2011 6:42 pm

Re: End of life?

Postby gulfbrzdawn » Tue Jun 07, 2011 7:28 pm

Hello and Welcome! I wish you were here under better circumstances though.
It sounds like you and your wife have done a wonderful job taking care of your beardie. As Lori(beardie parents)said, 9 yrs is a good long life for a beardie.
It is really hard to say how long he may still have. Does he seem to be suffering at all?
~Dawn~
Image
User avatar
gulfbrzdawn
BD.org Addict
 
Posts: 9257
Joined: Sun Sep 28, 2008 11:18 am
Location: Florida

Re: End of life?

Postby Drache613 » Tue Jun 07, 2011 11:18 pm

Hello,

That is a rough call, he could still have time left it is hard to know.
If he is 10 years, then that is a pretty good age! Are you using a UVB light currently & calcium supplementation?

The best thing is to try to keep him comfortable, as much as you can. You can keep his tank temperatures a little warmer at night, around 75-80 to help boost his immune system some.
It sounds like you & your wife have done a super job with him. Do you have any pictures of him?
The liver trouble is complicating matters. You could also try some Milk Thistle extract, or Serrapeptase for liver function as well. What medication is he on for his liver?

Tracie
User avatar
Drache613
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 38860
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2006 9:33 pm
Location: May, Texas

Re: End of life?

Postby athenacp » Wed Jun 08, 2011 3:02 am

ian37 wrote:The vet diagnosed liver problems following blood tests, and he's been having medicine with the vegetables for a couple of weeks now. It doesn't seem to be helping.

He sleeps most of the time, and doesn't move at all, apart from when we bring him out to be fed. I'm probably asking the damned obvious, but is this it? Is there nothing more we can do for him, but watch him slip away now?



Digger was like this the last 2 years of his life, (many times I thought it was "it")he was 8 years 2 months when he died, last Nov he started getting the black beard, turning white, then in Feb the top of his head started sinking in. His blood tests never showed liver problems, but when the doc felt him he did say he had an enlarged liver, this started when he was 6. He hardly ate, had to be fed baby food, yet he had his good days too when he would go after his butterworms.

Eash beardie is different so it is hard to say if it is "it". I would do what Tracie says, keep him comfortable. I did that with Digger and enjoyed every single cuddle & moment with him.
Mary
R.I.P. Digger 03/06/2011-"If Love could have saved you, You would have lived forever"
User avatar
athenacp
Extreme Poster
 
Posts: 3247
Joined: Thu Jan 25, 2007 6:13 am
Location: Kulpsville, PA

Re: End of life?

Postby ian37 » Thu Jun 09, 2011 4:22 am

Thank you for the replies... to answer the questions, yes - he's got a new UVB light (regularly replaced), his food is always supplemented with calcium/vitamin powder. The medicine is Destolit - 0.25 mg/day (ursodeo). Thanks for the suggestions of Milk Thistle extract... not sure if we want to mix too many medicines though, we'll include that once the tablet course is complete.

He doesn't seem to be suffering, but occasionally is extremely limp. A lot of the time he seems normal enough, dozing or lazily watching us. The real problem is that he can't seem to move his body very much at all. Occasionally makes a weak attempt, most of the time he does nothing.

We do have pictures, I'll upload them when I get the chance. It seems like he's at his final stage of life, I'd be amazed if he lasts a couple of years like Athenacp's Digger. The way he looks sometimes, I doubt he'll last the week. Other times, he looks pretty much normal. It's sad that we won't see our mischievous, energetic Draggi again. Inventive at hiding, astonishingly quick running around the place. We just want him to be comfortable now, and are wondering what to expect.

Thanks again everyone.
ian37
Newbie Poster
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2011 6:42 pm

Re: End of life?

Postby gulfbrzdawn » Thu Jun 09, 2011 4:48 am

I would think as long as he seems to not be suffering, just try and keep him comfortable as best as you can. I know how hard it is to watch a pet in it's final stages. Trying to make sure they are happy and not suffering is your number one priority. Although they may still be alive and breathing you have to also consider their quality of life and what is best for them.
I think though as attentive as you and your wife seem to be towards your beardie, you will know when it is his time. It is never an easy decision to make, but sometimes we have to think about the animal and unfortunately put our own feelings aside. :(
I am going to see if I can get one of our members(Diane) to reply to your post. She recently had to put her beloved "older" dragon to rest after many months of failing health. She may be able to give you some kind of advice in your beardie's care at this time.
Again... I am so sorry you are having to go through this. It is never an easy thing.
You and your beardie are in my thoughts.
~Dawn~
Image
User avatar
gulfbrzdawn
BD.org Addict
 
Posts: 9257
Joined: Sun Sep 28, 2008 11:18 am
Location: Florida
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Re: End of life?

Postby diamc » Thu Jun 09, 2011 4:11 pm

Hello, Dawn asked if I could look at this thread to see if I could help out in any way. I'm so sorry that you and your wife are going through this. :(

What you're explaining does sound quite familiar to what we experienced with our beloved Sabrina. She was almost 7 yrs old and was extremely healthy and active until a little over a year ago when she started declining from 3 defective mercury vapor bulbs, that's a long story. Anyway, from what I understand, the bad MVB's messed up her metabolism and at first, we noticed the wobbly walking that went downhill from there. After that, she wasn't able to use her back legs at all, would pull herself around on her front legs although she was having muscle spasms in her back legs. I tried everything to help her, Critical Care formula, Vitamin B, calcium +, Serrapeptase as an anti-inflammatory, etc etc. Those things did help for a while but then she starting declining again. She wasn't able to eat feeders on her own so she would open her mouth wide when she wanted crickets or silkworms and would happy chomp them down. I was feeding her baby food and this went on daily. She was always bright yellow when she was with us and was a big fighter, she didn't want to give up. Her muscle tone started diminishing in her front legs and the rest of her body and I knew that we had to face the fact that her quality of life was gone. When she started opening her mouth, I knew she had become uncomfortable and she was now sleeping more. I spent most of my time worrying about her when I wasn't here and when I was, I was continuously readjusting her laying position trying to make her comfortable. To make a long story short, I had to make the final decision and have her put to rest on May 31st and it tore my heart out.

What I'm trying to say is that you and your wife know what is best. As painful as it is, you have to put your feelings aside and decide what is right for him. If he is opening his mouth or has any darkness in his beard or the end of his tail, he is showing signs of being uncomfortable. I know seeing him in his tank not able to move is awful for you both to watch.

I have to share with you that I am now feeling relief, knowing that my girl is no longer in pain and isn't deprived from not being able to move, that must really bother them. It is emotionally and physically draining trying to keep them going, and it takes a huge toll on us. I can sympathize completely but you have to think of yourselves too.

So, please watch for signs of pain and do the right thing for your beardie and yourselves. It sounds like there isn't much more that you can do at this point. And, making that final decision to end it for him will put him at rest. The process of ending Sabrina's life was very peaceful. The vet put her in a tank with an anesthetic and she just went to sleep. After that, he gave her an injection but she had already gone so I know she didn't feel a thing.

If you have any questions or want to discuss anything further, let me know either here or by private message. Again, you are in my thoughts, my heart is still aching because I miss Sabrina SO much but I know I did the right thing. I just couldn't stand watching her go through anymore, she didn't deserve that. I hope what I wrote was able to help you.

Diane
Image
User avatar
diamc
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 28159
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:28 pm
Location: Upstate N.Y.

Re: End of life?

Postby diamc » Sat Jun 11, 2011 2:32 pm

Just thought I would check in to see if there has been any change in your beardie.
Image
User avatar
diamc
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 28159
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:28 pm
Location: Upstate N.Y.

Re: End of life?

Postby ian37 » Sun Jun 12, 2011 2:35 pm

Hello Diane, and thanks to Gulfbrzdawn for contacting you.

What you wrote was very helpful, and is much appreciated. Sorry, I haven't online for a few days. We've racked up some substantial vet fees in the past few months - more than in the entire life of our Draggi (that's his name, btw) prior to his downturn. I've checked the dates further, and it appears he's 8 years old, not nearly 10 as I first stated.

Our Draggi did the same as your Sabrina - opening his mouth wide, but he hasn't done that for a few weeks now. He does seem comfortable, we're very much on the lookout for signs of distress. When all this first started happening, he pulsed his throat furiously, out of frustration at being unable to move much, we thought. He seems to have accepted his situation a lot more now, and looks much more settled. My hopes for a full recovery are over at this point.

His beard and tail are a normal colour, I really will have to get some pictures together.

Today, I did the most sad task of woodwork I've ever done - making a small box which will be his final resting place. My wife suggests we line it with flowers and nice leaves and grasses, and then we'll bury it beneath a newly planted tree in our garden. We will watch for when his time has finally arrived, but right now he seems content, so we will let him be until he is no longer comfortable. You're right, though - it does take a toll on us.

Thank you again for your concern - and the same to everyone who has corresponded.
ian37
Newbie Poster
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2011 6:42 pm

Re: End of life?

Postby Sashee » Sun Jun 12, 2011 2:38 pm

My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I know this is a difficult situation to be in.
Image
User avatar
Sashee
Sub-Adult Poster
 
Posts: 891
Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2011 9:45 am
Location: Independence, Missouri

Re: End of life?

Postby diamc » Sun Jun 12, 2011 5:15 pm

Thanks for responding. I have been thinking about both of you and your very special Draggi. I'm glad to hear that he is comfortable and not showing any distress right now. Sounds like you have a good handle on it and am watching him closely.

I'm sorry that you had to make that very painful small box for him in preparation but at least you can do it ahead of time to make sure it is perfect and just the way you want it. The resting place sounds perfect and you'll be able to plant flowers, etc. Lining it with nice leaves, flowers and grasses will be a nice touch.

It's so hard when we know that there won't be a full recovery, I was hoping for a miracle for a very long time.

We're here if you need us.
Image
User avatar
diamc
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 28159
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 8:28 pm
Location: Upstate N.Y.

Re: End of life?

Postby Drache613 » Sun Jun 12, 2011 9:10 pm

Hello,

How is he doing this evening?
I think that is so special that you have made a little resting place for him in a little bed. That is so extremely difficult to do, I am sorry.
Even at 8, or slightly older he has still lived a great life, despite his earlier times before you brought him home. I know that he appreciates everything you are doing for him & have done for him.
Spend as much time with him as you can & spoil him. I hope that he has more time left & is comfortable now & content.
I just wondered what the vet thought was wrong with his liver, or, did they ever say?

I am thinking about you & your precious boy.


Tracie
User avatar
Drache613
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 38860
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2006 9:33 pm
Location: May, Texas

Re: End of life?

Postby MikeN » Mon Jun 13, 2011 2:04 am

Hi, I just wanted to chime in and say that I am with you, and not to give up. Heck, Leo is only three, but he's displayed almost all the behavior you describe, and we're not about to give up. I've heard first-hand experiences of beardies living to be 15 years or more, so we are going to fight on. Hand-feeding has been a given for us since he was a bit over a year old, so I just take it for granted anymore, I am more concerned with infections at this point.
Good luck, and don't give up!
MikeN
Hatchling Poster
 
Posts: 80
Joined: Tue Sep 09, 2008 10:47 am
Location: Antelope Valley, CA
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

Next

Return to Beardie ER

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Alexaak